Cohen's Death and the Dangers of Falls
This week, more details about Leonard Cohen's death were released. According to the legendary singer/songwriter's manager, Cohen fell in the night and died in his sleep. It's not known whether Cohen's death was related to the fall, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that several health conditions can increase falling risk—especially in older adults.
According to the NIH, the presence of more than one underlying condition contributes to most falls. Statistics from the CDC are alarming: more than one in four adults over the age of 65 falls each year and approximately one of five falls results in serious injury, including head injuries, broken bones, and lacerations. Every year, about 2.8 million older adults receive emergency treatment for fall-related injuries and by the age of 70, more than half of all people have fell.
Balance, muscle, sensory, and vision problems can increase fall risk, as well as postural hypertension—a drop in blood pressure upon standing that is related to diabetes, Parkinson's disease, infections, and certain medications. Strength and balance exercises, regular medical and eye exams, and home safety measures—installing railings, grab bars, and adequate lighting, for example—can help reduce the risk for falling.
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