44 THE QUEENS COURIER • HEALTH • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
6 simple tips to prevent a fall
Overwhelmingly, people say that they
want to stay independent and in their
own home as they age. One way to ensure
they can is to learn about fall risks and
make changes to reduce their chances of
falling. Because, while one in four older
adults falls each year, there are ways to be
prepared for the changes of aging in order
to prevent falls.
“Th e misconception is that falls are a
normal part of aging, but this is untrue,”
says Kathleen Cameron, senior director
at the National Council on Aging’s
Center for Healthy Aging. “Just because
you’re getting older doesn’t mean you’ll
inevitably fall at some point. Th ere are
proven ways to prevent falls, so older
adults can live healthy, safely and independently.”
Every 11 seconds an older adult is seen
in an emergency room for a fall-related
injury, reports the National Council
on Aging. To prevent falls, follow these
six simple steps. For additional advice
about preventing falls, visit www.ncoa.
Step 1: Find a good balance
and exercise program
As you age, it’s important to maintain
balance, strength and fl exibility. Contact
your local senior center or Area Agency
on Aging for information on programs
that can help you achieve these goals.
Review your options and fi nd one that
appeals to you. Better yet, join with a
friend to make it more fun and keep each
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Step 2: Talk to your
health care provider
Have an open conversation with your
health care provider about your fall concerns.
Share your history of falls and ask
for an assessment of your risk of falling
again so you can come up with a plan
Step 3: Review medications
with the pharmacist
Some medications have side eff ects that
can make it more likely for you to fall.
First, always take medications as prescribed.
Second, make sure you know the
risks and take precautions when necessary.
Step 4: Get vision and
hearing checked annually
Your eyes and ears are key
for keeping you safely on
your feet. Getting your vision
and hearing checked each
year by a health care professional
is important, so you
can update vision prescriptions and
take any necessary measures to correct
Step 5: Secure your home
To keep your home safe you need
to remove any tripping hazards like
loose rugs or free cords. You should
also increase lighting to improve visibility
indoors and outdoors. Pay particular
attention to stairs and consider installing
grab bars or railings.
Step 6: Talk with family
Falls aff ect all demographics and various
ages. Talk with family members about
your risks and concerns. Enlist their help
as needed to secure your home and keep
“A few simple steps can dramatically
reduce your risk for falling no matter
your age,” says Cameron. “By being
proactive, you can live healthy and independently
Age-related macular degeneration: What you should know
Ask most people what eye disease is
responsible for the greatest incidence of
vision loss in the over-65 population and
they would probably say glaucoma.
Th ey’d be wrong.
Age-related macular degeneration
(AMD) is the leading cause of vision
loss in people over age 65, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, yet this condition oft en gets
overlooked. Read on to learn more about
AMD and what can be done to prevent
or treat it.
What is AMD?
AMD causes damage to the macula, the
small spot on the retina that allows people
to see clearly and to see things straight
ahead of them. Th e macula is composed
of millions of light-sensing cells, and
when these cells are damaged by AMD,
the center of the vision fi eld becomes
darker, blurry and distorted.
Th ere are two types of AMD: dry and
wet. Dry AMD is characterized by the
thinning and aging of the macular tissue.
About 10 to 20 percent of cases
progress within fi ve years to wet AMD,
the more serious form of the condition,
which occurs when blood vessels grow
behind the macula and leak fl uid into it,
causing blind spots.
Th e National Eye Institute (NEI), a
division of the National Institutes of
Health, plans to conduct a fi ve-year study
on the progression of AMD. Researchers
will study 500 people, hoping to identify
markers of the condition, and better
understand its progression and what
steps can be taken to slow or prevent that progression.
Can AMD be prevented?
While AMD cannot be prevented, you
can take steps that may slow the progression
of the condition, says Dr. Efrem
Castillo, UnitedHealthcare chief medical
offi cer. He notes that incorporating
healthy lifestyle choices like quitting
smoking; eating leafy, green vegetables
and maintaining a good blood pressure
and cholesterol level can help.
Another crucial step is to get dilated
eye exams and vision tests from your eye
health professional to diagnose the condition
and track any progression. Tell your
eye doctor if others in your family have
been diagnosed with AMD because it is a
How is AMD treated?
Several prescription medications covered
under Medicare Part B can be used
to treat AMD. People must meet the
requirements established by Medicare to
have the prescription medication covered
by their insurance plan.
Th e use of over-the-counter medications
for AMD is based on fi ndings from
two age-related eye disease studies by the
NEI. Study results showed that AMD progression
could be slowed when people
took high doses of a specifi c set of vitamins
and minerals, including vitamins C
and E, copper, omega-3 fatty acids and
zinc. Remember to check with your doctor,
eye professional and pharmacist to
see if these non-prescription medications
might be good for you.
While vision changes can be a normal
part of aging, make note of any changes
you experience and talk with your doctor
to keep focused on your eye health.