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10 Critical Importance of Preventing Winter Injuries

As the streets freeze and the risk of falling increases, a third of elderly fall accidents occur around this time of the year. Not only the elderly but also middle-aged people aged over 50 with weak bones need to be careful, as a simple fall can lead to severe injuries. Moreover, it’s important to remember that falls can happen outside and inside the home. Let’s look at the leading causes of falls and how to prevent them.

In the case of older people, falls can be fatal

During the winter, there are many cases of people losing their balance and falling on icy roads. The most common injuries are wrist fractures, hip fractures, and spinal compression fractures. Fractures can easily occur when the body’s weight is applied directly to the arm or bottom in a fall, causing excessive force to the body.

7 out of 10 people suffer fractures

The colder the weather, the more the muscles and joints contract, reducing flexibility and increasing the likelihood of falls. Also, the risk of fractures increases significantly in patients with osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones. Middle-aged women need to be particularly careful as they are 15 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, which can lead to severe injuries even from minor falls.

Don’t walk with hands in your pockets

To prevent falls, avoid walking with your hands in your pockets to prevent losing balance. Wear gloves on your hands, take smaller steps than usual, and walk slowly. If it has snowed or the road is frozen, always carry a cane when going out, and it is best to wear shoes with low heels and wide soles that are not slippery. Also, remove moisture from the bathroom and balcony at home and wear non-slip slippers.

If there is a loss of consciousness after a fall

If there is a loss of consciousness after a fall, CT and MRI scans are performed to check for brain damage. X-rays are typically taken to check for musculoskeletal damage, and additional bone scan tests are planned for treatment. Rehabilitation therapy is also carried out in parallel for pain control, and elderly patients undergo osteoporosis tests to prevent further fractures.

What if the pain persists?

If the pain persists even after resting for a day or two after a fall, it is necessary to check for a possible hidden microfracture at a hospital. In the case of older people, there are many cases where they hide their pain and lie down, missing the right time for treatment. If this happens, complications can lead to death, so careful attention is needed. Even if it’s a minor fall, don’t overlook it, and be sure to get a thorough examination.

Can staying still also help?

Are you afraid of falling and staying still at home? However, in this case, the condition of the joints can deteriorate, increasing the risk of falls. It helps to get up, move around frequently, and maintain your slow walking speed rather than too fast. Avoid postures that can strain the musculoskeletal system (such as crossing your legs), and regularly do exercises to straighten your chest and back.

Check for fall triggers in advance

If you need to go out, avoid going out too early in the morning or at night, and refrain from going out when it’s cold or slippery – this is one way to prevent fall accidents. Also, these days, many people walk while looking at their smartphones. In such cases, it’s hard to respond quickly if a fall accident occurs while walking on icy roads, so don’t walk while looking at your phone.

The presence or absence of eye disease is also important

One of the internal factors of falls is underlying diseases such as blood pressure and diabetes, but the presence or absence of eye disease is also essential. If your vision is poor, the risk of falling increases when moving in the dark or waking up in the middle of the night. Many fall accidents occur when getting up to go to the bathroom at night, so if you have bladder problems, you must be aware of the risk of falls.

Anxiety medications and narcotic painkillers

Risk increases if you’re taking them

There is a research result that shows that the risk of falling increases 2.94 times in older people who take anti-anxiety drugs and 1.88 times in those who take narcotic painkillers. Anti-anxiety drugs are medications that reduce anxiety and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, tension, and restlessness. Anti-anxiety drugs are also narcotic drugs and are slightly different from general antidepressants. One of the side effects of anti-anxiety drugs is motor dysfunction, which increases the risk of falls, so if you are taking these drugs, you need to be especially careful.

Exercise is effective in preventing falls

Exercise is effective in preventing falls that lead to fractures. Especially as you age, regular exercise slows down the loss of bone density and develops muscles and motor nerves, so regular walking, jogging, mountain climbing, aerobics, stair climbing, etc., can be helpful.

By. Shin Young Jeon

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