Falls, bones, and bleeds

Falls are very serious as we age and our bones aren’t as a strong.  A break of an osteoporotic bone has far  more consequences than breaking a healthy bone.  The body is under extreme stress after such a fracture such that death rates the year following are significant – often due to pneumonia.
The other risk of falls is having a bleed within the brain when hitting your head.  The use of blood-thinners to prevent heart attack and stroke can be very effective but must be balanced agains the risk of bleeding.  Taking low dose Aspirin is not recommended for everyone! You must have specific risks to merit its use.  Prescription blood thinners are appropriately used to prevent strokes in people who have atrial fibrillation, post cardiac surgeries and after surgeries such as hip and knee replacements.  The dose and amount of time needed to stay on these treatments varies with the condition.    Be sure to check with your health practitioner.
In addition, be aware that several supplements and over the counter products can increase bleeding, including in the gastrointestinal tract.  Ensure you check with your pharmacist before purchasing any over the counter product when you are taking a blood thinner.  Some prescription medications can also increase fall risk and therefore, their use should be minimized. Be sure you have proper foot wear in the cold days ahead and use an appropriate walker/cane if needed for stability.

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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