Are you a fall risk?

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Last year, more than 2.8 million Americans over the age of 64 suffered a fall that was bad enough they needed medical attention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, that's one in every four seniors.

That's why September has been named Fall Prevention Month.

Bill Threadgill, a Physical Therapist and Balance Specialist at Covenant, says a lot of people don't know they are a fall risk, but you can test yourself with these questions at the grocery store: "First of all, do you feel comfortable holding on to a grocery cart? Do you have to find one in the parking lot before you even get into the store? While you're in the store, are you able to look and turn your head and look up and down without holding on?"

He says all those can be clues about your balance. But, he adds that age isn't the only trigger for poor balance.

Bill says 80 percent of medicines list dizziness, a fall risk, as a side effect.

Also, he says there is a strong connection between water and balance. We need lots of water to keep our blood volume stable. Otherwise, he explains, our blood volume gets out of kilter and we end up light headed and risk a fall.

He says he shares this formula with his patients, "Whatever you are on the scale, take half of that and that's the number in ounces you can drink up to per day."

Admittedly, he says, that's a lot of water, but most patients don't even drink a quarter of their weight.

Other steps we can take to reduce the risk of falls:

Clean up the clutter.

Get rid of throw rugs and mats, major trip hazards.

Also, put away extension cords and make sure there are no socks on the floor. Soft and slippery, a little sock could be your downfall.

If you think you might be a fall risk, Bill suggests you ask your physician for a balance test and more ideas in preventing falls in your life.

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