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Johns Hopkins Bayview News - Fatal Fall

Summer 2014

Fatal Fall

By: Tyler Scheff
Date: June 2, 2014

Preventing the leading cause of injury

Man coming down steps with hands full

One in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year in the United States, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries of older adults. Injury-related falls can happen for a number of reasons, including age, unstable surfaces, working in unsafe environments, and even taking a number of prescribed medications at once.

Nathaniel McQuay, Jr., M.D., chief of the Division of Trauma at Johns Hopkins Bayview, sees many serious fall-related injuries. “Many injuries from falling result in fractured ribs and hips,” he says. “Many older adults are just one fall away from becoming seriously injured. It is important to take steps to prevent falls.” Dr. McQuay also suggests that if you’re on medications that affect how your blood clots, ask your doctor about possible side effects.

Some steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling include:

  • Make sure that you have clear and well-lit walkways throughout your house.
  • Wear solid shoes with good support.
  • Take your time when walking around slippery areas like spills and ice.
  • Have your vision checked every year.
  • Make sure all of your doctors know what medicine you are on, and keep a list with you.
  • Use non-slip mats and grab bars in the bathroom.

If you fall and injure yourself, you should immediately seek help or call 911.