By Dr. Brian McDonough

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – More than one in three adults ages 65 or older suffers a fall each year. Some falls are minor inconveniences but falls frequently lead to fractures, hospital visits, and even deaths.

The problem gets worse as people age. Compared with adults ages 65 to 74, adults ages 85 and older faced 16 times the death risk from falling.

So what can we do about it?

There are many factors that can place seniors at risk. These include weak muscles, poor balance, vision problems, and multiple medications. The more risk factors older adults have, the greater their chances of taking a spill.

Some steps you can take: encourage exercise – even light exercise. It helps keep legs strong and boost balance. Schedule yearly vision exams. And have a doctor or pharmacist review all medications. He or she can spot drugs that cause dizziness or drowsiness.