House Calls

WIN 2019

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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S ome side effects of aging are a given: from laugh lines and gray hairs to (most importantly!) increased wisdom. But if you think bouts of dizziness are an unavoidable aspect of getting older, think again. Though falls are indeed common among seniors—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four older adults falls every year—many of these incidents are preventable, says Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated primary care doctor Danielle Yuen. "One of the biggest causes of balance problems among seniors is medication," she says. "Dizziness can be a result of a single medication or be caused by an interaction between several." It can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition like an inner-ear infection, diabetes, or benign paroxysmal positional 14 { winter 2019 } h o u s e c a l l s senior health Sure-Footed Dr. Yuen shares at-home tips for boosting your balance and reducing your risk for falls Drink up! Dehydration lowers blood volume, which can cause a drop in blood pressure and result in dizzy spells. Keep a large water bottle handy so you can easily sip it throughout the day. 2 Consider compression stockings. Those who have circulation problems due to conditions like diabetes may benefit from waist-high compression stockings. These prevent blood from pooling in your legs, which may result in lightheadedness or fainting. 3 Stay active. Tai chi, yoga, and strength training can all help improve balance. Check the schedules at the Lowcountry Senior Center and Waring Senior Center for balance-specific fitness classes. 4 Monitor medications. When taking a new prescription, watch for dizziness-related issues, especially during the first month. If a problem arises, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. 5 Ditch tripping hazards. Throw rugs, extension cords, and clutter are all common culprits. Also, be sure your home is well lit. Off Kilter Does dizziness plague your day to day? Read on for ways to help - B Y J E S S I C A G R E E N S M I T H vertigo (marked by short episodes of vertigo, or a spinning sensation, this condition has no known primary cause). In very rare cases, dizziness can be a sign of stroke or of a tumor on the cranial nerve, which is why it's critical to be evaluated promptly when problems persist. If you experience severe dizziness, it comes on suddenly, or it's accompanied by other symptoms like facial dropping, slurred speech, and numbness on one side of the body, seek care immediately as a serious condition like stroke could be at play. Otherwise, make an appointment with your primary care doctor, who can check your blood sugar levels, screen your medications, and give you an overall health evaluation. "In many cases, tweaking your prescriptions and/or working to balance out muscle strength throughout your body can help remedy the issue," says Dr. Yuen. The key is to talk to your doctor as soon as you start experiencing balance issues. "Don't just sit back and accept it as a part of aging." ∙ The majority of older adults who fall do not tell their doctor. –National Institutes of Health ∙ Falls are the number one cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among adults age 65 and older. –National Council on Aging ∙ A regular exercise regime may reduce falls resulting in a mild injury by 37 percent, falls leading to serious injuries by 43 percent, and broken bones from falls by 61 percent. –The BJM FAST FACTS ABOUT FALLS

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