Neuropathy, Stairs and Falling: Know The Risks in Traverse City
Neuropathy in Traverse City is very common, affecting 25-30% of Americans. Although it can occur at any age, older people are most at risk.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerves that are located in the brain and spinal cord become damaged. This results in disrupted communication between the brain and the rest of the body, leading to muscle weakness, pain, numbness and tingling, and loss of coordination. People with neuropathy may also experience loss of sensation in their hands and legs.
If you are experiencing any neuropathic symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical advice right away. Neuropathy can make daily life challenging and for many individuals, it can be dangerous.
Neuropathy And Falls Are Extremely Common in Traverse City
Neuropathy is one of the leading causes of falls in the elderly. Many aspects of neuropathy can raise the risk of falling, including:
- Balance impairment
- Loss of reflexes in the foot and ankle
- Muscle weakness
- Gait problems
Falling is particularly dangerous for older individuals who live at home. Many people end up selling their homes as they cannot safely get up and down the stairs, so the impact of neuropathy can profoundly change a person’s quality of life.
As well, the long-term impact of a fall can be devastating. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury and death by injury for people over 65. For seniors, about one in five falls leads to serious injuries like broken bones or head injuries. Falling can also trigger a dangerous cycle: about 70% of adults who fall are worried they will fall again, so they often curtail their activity levels. But, the reduced activity leads to muscle weakness and other health problems, somewhat ironically actually raising the risk of another fall.
Lower Your Risk Of Falling
Considering the risks, it’s obvious why it is so important to manage the symptoms of neuropathy to prevent injury.
To lower your risk of falling, it’s important to take some proactive steps.
- Clear your stairs of any clutter, and ensure you have a sturdy handrail.
- Never use stairs in the dark.
- Be careful carrying things down stairs. Hold the objects in front of your body, and be mindful of your balance.
- Balance training can help make you more steady on your feet. Exercises like tai chi and yoga are beneficial.
- It goes against what some of us have been taught, but studies have shown that shoes are the safest indoor foot option for seniors.
Treat Your Neuropathy
It’s important not to assume that you couldn’t have neuropathy because you’re not diabetic…non-diabetics do experience neuropathy!
Fortunately, many natural, noninvasive treatments are available, including:
- Dietary changes
- Biomechanical correction of the spine
- Electronic nerve stimulation
- Vibration therapy
- Cold laser therapy
We Can Help
Peripheral neuropathy comes with a variety of risk factors that make diagnosis and treatment highly important. We are here to help if you feel you may be experiencing the symptoms of neuropathy. While there is no cure for neuropathy, it is completely manageable, and symptoms can be reduced with proper education. Give us a call to learn more!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Keep on Keep on Your Feet - Preventing Older Adult Falls, https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/older-adult-falls/index.html
Dionyssiotis Y. Analyzing the problem of falls among older people. Int J Gen Med. 2012;5:805-13. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S32651. Epub 2012 Sep 28. PMID: 23055770; PMCID: PMC3468115.
Kelsey JL, Procter-Gray E, Nguyen US, Li W, Kiel DP, Hannan MT. Footwear and Falls in the Home Among Older Individuals in the MOBILIZE Boston Study. Footwear Sci. 2010 Sep;2(3):123-129. doi: 10.1080/19424280.2010.491074. PMID: 22224169; PMCID: PMC3250347.
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