This article that came into my inbox was a very disturbing one for me. In a previous post, I told you about my husband falling in a parking lot and breaking his hip. Did I also tell you he is a type 2 diabetic? So, when I read the article about a study that stated, “diabetes was associated with a higher risk of hip and non-vertebral fractures,” it grabbed my attention.
Although the study found that those with type 1 diabetes were at greater risk for hip fractures than those with type 2, this was of little consolation to me. The article also stated that those under 65 with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes had “a higher risk for hip fracture, as did type 2 diabetes patients treated with insulin and with longer disease duration.” See why it’s not consoling? Those findings, revealed during Diabetes Awareness Week, convey to me that every person with diabetes is at danger of fracturing his/her hip if he/she falls.
Lead researcher Dr Tatiane Vilaca, from the University of Sheffield’s Mellanby Centre for Bone Research, said: “Diabetes can cause a number of well-known complications including kidney problems, loss of eyesight, problems with your feet and nerve damage. However, until now many people with diabetes and their doctors are unaware that they are also at greater risk of bone fractures.” That is so true. Now, in addition to being mindful about the problems mentioned above, you have to be careful that you don’t fall and break your hip.
So, how can you avoid the latter from happening? As an occupational therapist and health coach, I am well versed in fall prevention strategies, which we teach our patients, especially the elderly. If you are a young person, you are more likely to have stronger muscles and proper balance, however, you would do well to be aware of some of the steps you can take to prevent yourself from falling and suffering the consequences.
Here are some things you can do:
- Exercising at least 30 minutes five times a week will strengthen and tone your muscles, helping to support your frame. You should also incorporate some weight-training aimed at strengthening your legs. If you are elderly, tai chi movements can be effective in improving your balance.
- Watch your meds! Sleep aids, benzodiazepines, cough and cold drowsy formulas can upset your balance. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and do not walk if you are sleepy.
- Remove the clutter. Watch out for rugs, extension cords, and other objects in your path. Even your pet can be a fall hazard.
- Light your path. If you are coming in late at night, make sure your pathway is well lit and there are no objects-like a water hose- waiting to trip you. The same goes for indoors. As a diabetic, you may have to get up during the night to go the bathroom. Make sure you have sufficient night lights to see by.
- Wear proper footwear. High heels, slip-on sandals, are often the cause of many falls. Dr. Lewis Lipsitz, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School says, “Fashion needs to take a back seat to function.” Another doctor said all shoes should have a back and a sole with good tread.
- Discard your pride. Someone once told me she would never use a cane, even when her doctor recommended it. Using a cane or walker can save you from falling, which may even save your life. According to Dr. Lipsitz, “falls kill.” Which would you rather have, your pride or your life?
Type 2 diabetes is such a serious disease. You have to be careful about so many things. You can live a healthy and worry-free life, free of diabetes, if you get the help you need. Just fill in the form below and be on your way to a healthy and happy life.