Education Center

Health care-focused resources for seniors and medical community.

Reduce Your Risk Of A Hip Fracture

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Reduce Risk Hip Fracture

Multiple medications, poor vision and balance problems, in addition to weakening bones, put older people at risk of falling and suffering a hip fracture.

One of the most serious fall injuries is a broken hip. It is hard to recover from a hip fracture and, afterward, many people are not able to live on their own. As the U.S. population gets older, the number of hip fractures is likely to go up. 

Each year over 300,000 older people—those 65 and older—are hospitalized for hip fractures. More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways. According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC). Women experience three-quarters of all hip fractures, fall more often than men, and often have osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.

Older people are at a higher risk of hip fracture because bones tend to weaken with age (osteoporosis). Multiple medications, poor vision and balance problems also make older people more likely to trip and fall — one of the most common causes of hip fracture, reports the Mayo Clinic. A hip fracture almost always requires surgical repair or replacement, followed by months of physical therapy.

Take steps now to maintain bone density, avoid falling and prevent hip fracture, courtesy of the CDC. Start by:

Talking to Your Doctor

  • Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.
  • Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about taking vitamin D.


Getting Screened for Osteoporosis/Exercising

  • Get screened for osteoporosis and treated if needed.
  • Do strength and balance exercises.
  • Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance. Tai Chi is a good example of this kind of exercise.

Having Your Eyes Checked

  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year, and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed.

It you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.

Making Your Home Safer

  • Get rid of things you could trip over.
  • Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
  • Put railings on both sides of stairs.
  • Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.


The Mayo Clinic offers these 8 tips to maintain healthy bone and reduce your risk of falling:

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D. As a general rule, men and women age 50 and older should consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, and 600 international units of vitamin D a day.
  • Exercise to strengthen bones and improve balance. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, help you maintain peak bone density for more years. Exercise also increases your overall strength, making you less likely to fall. Balance training is also important to reducing your risk of falls, since balance tends to deteriorate with age.
  • Avoid smoking or excessive drinking. Tobacco and alcohol use can reduce bone density. Drinking too much alcohol also can impair your balance and make you more likely to fall.
  • Assess your home for hazards. Remove throw rugs, keep electrical cords against the wall, and clear excess furniture and anything else that could trip you. Make sure every room and passageway is well-lit.
  • Check your eyes. Have an eye exam every other year, or more often if you have diabetes or an eye disease.
  • Watch your medications. Feeling weak and dizzy, which are possible side effects of many medications, can increase your risk of falling. Talk to your doctor about side effects caused by your medications.
  • Stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop and make you feel wobbly.
  • Use a walking stick or walker. If you don’t feel steady when you walk, ask your doctor or occupational therapist whether these aids might help.


For more information, go to: The Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe Mayo Clinic


KHN: As Seniors Get Sicker, They’re More Likely To Drop Medicare Advantage Plans

heidi Resources for Seniors Comments Off on KHN: As Seniors Get Sicker, They’re More Likely To Drop Medicare Advantage Plans

medicare advantageKaiser Health News: As Seniors Get Sicker, They’re More Likely To Drop Medicare Advantage Plans 
When Sol Shipotow enrolled in a new Medicare Advantage health plan earlier this year, he expected to keep the doctor who treats his serious eye condition. “That turned out not to be so,” said Shipotow, 83, who lives in Bensalem, Pa. Shipotow said he had to scramble to get back on a health plan he could afford and that his longtime eye specialist would accept. “You have to really understand your policy,” he said. “I thought it was the same coverage.” (Shulte, 7/6)

What Causes Excessive Hair Loss?

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From a traumatic life event to the way you style your hair, there are many causes of excessive hair loss. Here's what to do.

From a traumatic life event to the way you style your hair, there are many causes of excessive hair loss. Here’s what to do.

It’s normal to shed hair every day, however some people experience excessive (more than normal) hair loss. So what causes this? And when should you consult a doctor for it?

Many conditions and diseases can result in hair loss. So can improper hair care. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary thinning or baldness. While daily shedding is normal, people who notice their hair shedding in large amounts after combing or brushing, and those whose hair becomes thinner or falls out, should consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment, reports the American Academy of Dermatology.

Common Causes of Excessive Hair Loss, according to


Some drugs such as gout medication, hormone pills, antidepressants, or anticoagulants (also known as blood thinners) can cause thinning in the hair. This is usually due to the hair follicles being negatively impacted by these medicines, which disrupts their growth cycle. If medicine is the likely cause of hair loss, your physician should be contacted to try to lower dosage or change to a different medication.


In senior people, there are common health conditions that can be directly related to hair loss. Such problems include thyroid dysfunction, any infections in the scalp or skin, or alopecia areata (autoimmune disease which results in hair loss). Iron deficiency is another factor that can lead to baldness. As studies have shown, individuals with a poor diet that is deficient of iron are more likely to have hair loss. These problems can be diagnosed and treated for by a doctor. After treatment, your hair loss will be reduced and with return to its normal growth cycle over a period of time.


The changing of hormones are we age is likely the most common cause of hair loss in elderly people. Sex hormones typically cause male or female pattern baldness. Hormone imbalances caused by menopause are another cause of hair loss. Consult a doctor for treatment, but know that these causes are often inevitable and something everyone will have to resolve at some point in their life.

Certain Hairstyles

There are also some various hairstyles that can lead to hair loss. Some include pig tails or cornrows that involve tight hair rollers, which can cause “traction alopecia”, where your scalp will scar due to the pulling. If the pulling on your hair is stopped before the scarring occurs, the hair loss won’t be permanent.

In addition, hair loss can also result from:

Radiation therapy to the head. The hair may not grow back the same as it was before.

A trigger event. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary. Examples of trigger events include sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever, surgery, or a death in the family.

A number of factors can increase your risk of hair loss, including:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and lupus
  • Stress

Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what’s causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body. Some types of hair loss are temporary, and others are permanent.

Signs and symptoms of hair loss, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Gradual thinning on top of head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead in a line that resembles the letter M. Women typically retain the hairline on the forehead but have a broadening of the part in their hair.
  • Circular or patchy bald spots .Some people experience smooth, coin-sized bald spots. This type of hair loss usually affects just the scalp, but it sometimes also occurs in beards or eyebrows. In some cases, your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
  • Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
  • Full-body hair loss.Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back.
  • Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing.


How is hair loss diagnosed?

If you suspect that you may have excessive hair loss, talk to your doctor, suggests He or she will probably ask you some questions about your diet, any medicines you’re taking, and whether you’ve had a recent illness, and how you take care of your hair. If you’re a woman, your doctor may ask questions about your menstrual cycle, pregnancies, and menopause. Your doctor may want to do a physical exam to look for other causes of hair loss. Finally, your doctor may order blood tests or a biopsy.

What you can do

  • List key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you’re taking.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.