By Sandi Salazar MSPT, Nike GPS, CAFS of FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers Phoenix Desert Ridge
September ushers in the fall season and, with that, the appropriately named National Fall Prevention Awareness Month. Adding another layer to the mix has been COVID-19 and the long-term post-COVID-19 symptoms that are plaguing so many, young and old.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on many individuals’ normal fitness and daily activities, not to mention the effect it has had on those that continue to experience long-term symptoms from the virus. This has led to an epidemic of deconditioning among many of our patients at FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers Phoenix Desert Ridge, making them more susceptible to falls, whether it is a stumble into a wall or furniture in the house or a full fall to the ground.
Fall death rates have increased 30% from 2007 to 2016, another estimated 30% due to inactivity and isolation from COVID-19, and will no doubt continue to increase as the population continues to age (over 10,000 people in the United States turn 65 every day).
A new study performed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) links ongoing weakness, malaise, fatigue, respiratory failure with hypoxia, and gait abnormalities in the post-COVID-19 population, which are all direct contributors to fall-related incidences.
With the addition of COVID-19 to the mix, fall prevention awareness becomes more vital than ever. The cost of falls is astonishing at an estimated $68 billion in 2020 alone, with Medicare and Medicaid covering around 75% of these related costs.
The startling statistics according to the CDC:
- Every second an older adult falls.
- Every year there are 36 million falls, resulting in eight million injuries, three million ER visits, 950,000 hospitalizations, and 32,000 thousand deaths nationwide.
- Every year more than $50 billion is spent treating fall related injuries. Last year’s estimate was up to $68 billion with a 2021 projection at $88 billion.
With the U.S. economy already strained, and many Americans devastated both physically and mental from COVID-19, National Fall Prevention Awareness couldn’t be more important this year.
The good news…
Working on one’s balance can help prevent falls and there are many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. You can learn about many of the ways to help prevent falls and gain better balance on our blog.
FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center – Phoenix Desert Ridge specializes in all things related to balance. We invite you to join us in helping Arizona “Fight the Fall.” For the month of September, we are offering free fall risk assessments, so give us a call today to schedule your free assessment. Visit fyzical.com/phoenix or call 602-404-8012 to learn more.