Manage Chronic Conditions

You may be able to prevent falls by following our tips for managing the most common chronic conditions. Talk to your doctor about strategies to keep you healthy and use these tips to help prepare for your visit.

Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol and drugs affect your body differently as you age and may be dangerous when mixed with your medications. Speak with your doctor about how alcohol might interact with your medications.

Arthritis and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can make any physical activity difficult, including walking. Learn about exercises for people who have arthritis, and speak with your doctor or physical therapist for more help.

Depression

Depression may put you at risk for falling. Depression may cause you to want to stay home instead of going out and being active. Talk with your health care provider or case worker if you’ve been feeling depressed.

Diabetes Medications

These types of drugs may cause low blood sugar, leading to a fall. Poorly controlled diabetes can also increase the risk of a fall. You can manage diabetes by seeing your health care provider regularly and keeping a detailed blood sugar diary (PDF).

Dizziness and Balance Problems

There are many causes of dizziness and balance issues. You can keep them in check by:

  • Drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Rising slowly from a seated position. Standing up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop, leading to a fall. Tell your doctor if you feel dizzy when rising from a bed or chair.
  • Reviewing your medications closely with your doctor. Dizziness is a common side effect.
  • Getting a referral from your doctor to see an ear, nose and throat specialist to check for a balance disorder. See more information on balance problems.

Improper Use of an Assistive Device

It can be dangerous to use a walker or cane incorrectly. Talk with your doctor about seeing a physical or occupational therapist. They can help you choose the right assistive device and show you how to use it properly.

Incontinence

Problems controlling urination or defecation can cause you to be anxious and rush to the bathroom. You can use nightlights or keep a flashlight by your bed to avoid falls. You should also clear a pathway by removing any items that might cause you to trip or stumble on your way to the bathroom.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can cause numbness or weakness in your hands and feet. Speak with your doctor if you notice any tingling, weakness or pains in your hands or feet.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes your bones to become weak and brittle. For people with osteoporosis, even a minor fall may be dangerous. Ask your doctor about what steps you can take to avoid breaking a bone.

Vitamin D Deficiency

This is common in older adults. Vitamin D helps strengthen bones and build muscle. Talk with your doctor to see if taking Vitamin D is right for you.

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