Falls in older adults are matters that should be treated seriously. This is not only in cases of injuries but also when it appears that everything is fine. Sometimes falls can indicate an underlying issue that may contribute to the likelihood of falls in the future. When they do fall, make sure that you call for medical help immediately. Being proactive when it comes to the safety of your loved one is important.
Why You Should Head to the Doctor After a Loved One Falls
A fall may be a sign of a medical problem that needs attention and treatment. For example, an older person may fall because of the mental confusion that comes with dehydration. Some doctors may not be as thorough as they should when assessing an older person after a fall as they may be focused on injuries or any fractures, which is also important. With you around, you may be able to point out several things they may be overlooking and may help your loved one with reducing the chances of any future falls.
Here are some things that the doctor should be looking at when an older person visits them after a fall.
Assessment for Underlying Illness
Usually, doctors will check for weakness or delirium after a fall. Bring up any symptoms that you might have noticed recently and if there have been any changes to your loved one’s health. There may be other health problems such as anemia or pneumonia, among others that are making your loved one weak, contributing to the fall.
Low blood pressure is associated with light-headedness and fainting, so checking blood pressure is important after a fall. The doctor should be making sure that your family member isn’t experiencing a fall in their blood pressure when they stand up. Certain medications that they are taking may also cause falls in their blood pressure.
Blood sodium levels may be too high or too low, so checking an older person’s blood work is important after a fall. Should anything abnormal be found, you should ask the doctor to explain what they are, if they are related to falls, and the next steps necessary to fix the issue.
If your loved one has diabetes, you should also be sure to bring in any blood sugar logs that they have. Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia may be the cause of falls. However, blood tests do not typically show any instances of low blood sugar.
Review of Existing Medications
Some medications may increase the risk of falls and if doctors can swap out these medications, they should. Perhaps your loved one is also be taking an increased dose when it is unnecessary. Some medications to look out for are sedatives and blood pressure and diabetes medications that impact blood pressure, sugar, and more.
A balance check may help the doctor to see if there are any issues with gait or balance and if there’s any pain that needs to be addressed. They may also be able to refer your loved one to a physical therapist or recommend any strengthening or balance exercises that might help.