In Maryland, the leaves are turning beautiful fall colors. The air is crisp more often, and that fuzzy blanket feels good at night! The move from summer to autumn makes itself known in obvious and in subtle ways.
Throughout life, your body makes changes, too. Some are obvious. Some are subtle.
Many of these changes increase your risk for falls and/or injury with a fall.
- Joints get stiffer
- Lung capacity gradually decreases – you might get short of breath easier
- Skin gets drier as overall body water content decreases
- Vision changes, especially your ability to see up close
- Skin and tissues get looser
These changes are usually caught when your doctor monitors your labs, your urine, or does a physical exam.
- Kidneys slow down
- Liver slows down
- Bones get less dense (hard)
- Reflexes aren’t as quick
- Risk for urinary track infection goes up
- Hormone production changes – for men and women
Association with falls
As we move slower, have more joint pain, lose some of our range of motion, and reflexes slow, the risk of falls goes up. As senses such as vision, hearing, touch, smell, and even taste change, these also increase the risk of falls.
The kidney and liver changes are especially important as we think about the impact on how our body handles medications. The liver is the key organ that breaks down medicines in our body. The kidney is one of the primary ways they are then removed. So, as our kidneys and liver slow down, for many medicines, we need lower doses. Sometimes, at some point in the decline of kidneys or liver, some medications should NOT be used at all.
Falls can lead to losing your ability to walk, run, climb stairs, and be as active as you would like to be.
Remember, with accumulated years we also grow in wisdom, in maturity, and learn to count the blessings in our lives! Graceful aging is a beautiful thing. I just don’t want you to fall!
Call us at Meds MASH for a thorough assessment of your current changes, your medications, and ways to decrease your risk of falls. This is one of our specialties! Michelle is one of the creators of a comprehensive falls risk assessment.
For further application, check out my personal blog.