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Exercise Recommended Over Vitamin D for Falls

Posted On: 09-29-2017
Exercise Recommended Over Vitamin D for Falls
According to new recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), exercise may be helpful in preventing falls in seniors.

In Americans ages 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injuries, including those that lead to death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls are a significant factor in disability for older patients. Additionally, one older person falls every second in the United States. One of the most popular recommendations is to take vitamin D or calcium supplements to prevent broken bones and injuries from falls.

Although the task force was unable to find concrete evidence that vitamin D and calcium could help prevent fractures, and more research is needed to evaluate the benefits, there are other things that patients could do to help prevent falls.

According to task force member Dr. Alexander Krist, an associate professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University, exercise had a moderate benefit in preventing falls in older patients who were already at an increased risk for falls. This may be because exercise can help to improve balance.

Patients should talk to their doctor about which exercise is best for them. Supervised physical activity may be recommended. It is also recommended that doctors regularly test older patients for fall risks.

The USPSTF is an independent panel of experts that helps to provide guidance to physicians regarding the prevention of medical problems. The new guidelines are suggested for generally healthy older patients who are not already experiencing medical issues such as osteoporosis, dementia, or vitamin D deficiency.

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