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Fall Prevention Tips By Dr. Alana Serota, Osteoporosis Expert

Alana Serota, Department of Metabolic Bone Disease at HSS

Alana Serota, MD

As a specialist in Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease at Hospital for Special Surgery, I work with women and men throughout their lives to maintain and improve bone health. Educating my patients about fall prevention is an important part of the work I do.

In honor of Falls Prevention Awareness Month, I'm pleased to share some of my top tips to attenuate the risk of falls:

Fall Prevention Tips

  • Wear low-heeled, sturdy shoes

  • Clear the floor of extension cords, loose area rugs, toys/games/clutter

  • Have a well-lit path to the bathroom at night and use a flashlight in dark, unfamiliar areas (inside or out)

  • Use any necessary assistive devices - canes, walkers, railings, grab bars, etc.

  • Get regular vision and hearing checks

  • Attend to correctable vision and hearing problems

  • Avoid over-sedating - with alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription medications

  • Stay fit and active, practice balance every day (one-legged stand, tandem walk)

  • Practice Tai Chi - it can decrease the risk of falls by half

Link Between Falls and Hearing Loss

Hearing plays a critical role in fall prevention because it allows us to localize ourselves in space and contributes greatly to balance. An untreated 25 decibel hearing loss triples the chance of falling (based on a study of adults ages 40-69).

Diminished hearing also has a negative effect on mood and cognitive function, and these in turn contribute to falls and fractures. So I am very much an advocate for getting regular hearing checks and, if warranted, using hearing aids.

I appreciate the opportunity to share this message with the Center for Hearing and Communication's community of clients and supporters.

About Dr. Serota

Dr. Serota completed training in primary care medicine in Canada. Her clinical duties and research focused on general women's health, osteoporosis care, contraceptive technologies, and access to same. She then went on to complete a Fellowship in Women's Health with an emphasis on gynecology and internal medicine relevant to the health of women at centers of excellence throughout Ontario. She was certified as a Menopause Practitioner by the North American Menopause Society in 2002.

Dr. Serota's second fellowship was in osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease at the Hospital for Special Surgery. This further focused her interests to the study of bone health in women and men from the late teenage years onward. Her current clinical interests include maintenance and improvement of bone health throughout life, especially premenopausal and perimenopausal women, and optimization of bone health and healing before, during, and after surgical orthopedic procedures. She is committed to a patient-centered, biopsychosocial approach to the care of osteoporosis and metabolic bone issues.

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