Falls are a serious concern for those over 65. It is well discussed and even a punchline on television shows where elderly people are constantly concerned about breaking a hip, but in reality almost three-fourths of the elderly who fall have injuries serious enough to be life threatening.
These injuries aren’t just fractures and broken bones. A major problem for senior citizens who have suffered a fall is brain injury. Falls are actually one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries, and the elderly make up a significant portion of these concussion patients.
Dr. Julie Pelitis performs surgeries aimed to release the pressure on the brain caused by pooling blood following brain injury, and she deals with many of these older patients on a daily basis. She says that the high levels of medication many of these patients are on is a contributing factor to the increased risk.
Pelitis told Your News Now, “Aspirin, Motrin, vitamin E, many fish oils, as well as plavix and coumadin, this has become a real issue.”
Other issues such as balance, weakened bones, and nerve disorders all create dangerously high risks of tripping or falling. Combine this with the blood thinners commonly prescribed to elderly patients, and a bleeding in the brain is highly likely to follow the brain injury.
Pelitis said, “What happens over that time is it puts pressure on the brain and people notice they feel more off balance or have more difficulty speaking, may have a seizure or profound headache.”
The best way to prevent dangerous falls or brain injuries in older adults is to install safety bars and non-slip mats in the house, as well as ensuring there is adequate lighting, especially at night. It is also important to be careful of small animals that can trip you or medications that may cause dizziness.