Falls increase in severity and frequency as we age. Many factors contribute to this reality. They include gait and balance disorders, hearing and visual impairments, environmental factors, and orthostatic hypotension (blood pressure that drops when a person goes from a reclining position to a sitting or standing position).
One factor, though, is often overlooked as a possible cause of falls: medications. Medications may account for 10-20% of all falls.
As we age, medication usage increases. Are you or a loved one taking more than 4 medications per day? If so, you (and your loved one) are at a higher risk for falling than those taking less medications.
In addition to increased usage, the aging process increases our sensitivity to medication side effects. Medications that cause the following side effects may put your parents at an increased risk for falling:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased blood sugar levels
- Decreased sodium levels
Common medications that cause the above side effects are; certain blood pressure medications, older medications for diabetes, pain medications, and medications for anxiety such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax).
Multiple medications are sometimes necessary to control health problems; however, the good news is no other risk factor for falls is as potentially preventable as medication use.
A senior care pharmacist can:
- Determine your parent’s individual fall
- Confirm that they are on the best medications for their health conditions
- Review their individual tolerance for the medications they’re taking
One fall could change everything. Don’t risk it! Contact Our Personal Pharmacist for a medication therapy review.