Balance is very important for people with osteoporosis. Your eyes, ears, muscles and joints all play an important role in maintaining your balance and preventing broken bones. Medical conditions and medicines can also affect balance and your risk of falling. Let’s take a look at these and see how you might be able to reduce your chances of falling.
Changes in vision happen as you age. Cataracts or glaucoma can develop. Your eyes may take longer to adjust to changes in the light and glare. Changes in vision can affect your ability to judge the steepness of stairs and curbs or to avoid obstacles in your path.
Your vision not only helps you avoid obstacles and dangers but also helps keep your orientation in space. Your eyes work something like a level, which is a tool that tells you if a surface is flat and even. Without realizing it, you notice vertical and horizontal objects like buildings and doorways, and use this information to help you stand and stay erect.
Keeping your home well lit at night not only keeps you from tripping or banging into objects, but more importantly gives you information on which way is up and keeps you steadier on your feet. It is also important to have regular eye exams. If you have prescription glasses or contact lenses, wear them.
Changes in hearing happen as you age. Our middle ears contain semicircular canals lined with hair-like structures, fluid and crystals. This system can give us information on our head and body movements to help us maintain our balance.
Medications and some illnesses can affect middle-ear function. Sometimes these problems are associated with ringing in the ear or a sensation of the room spinning (vertigo). Consult your doctor if you’re having any of these problems or problems with balance. Sometimes your doctor or physical therapist can reposition the crystals in your ear and significantly improve your balance.