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Physical Therapist Intervention for Balance Impairments May Help Reduce Risk of Falling
Date:1/14/2008

American Physical Therapy Association Sponsors National Toll-Free Hotline Addressing Ways to Improve Balance and Reduce Risk of Falls

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Falls are prevalent, dangerous, and costly. About one in three seniors above age 65, and nearly one in two seniors over age 80, will fall at least once this year, many times with disastrous consequences.* As our nation's population ages, the rate of falls is rising. Yet, falling and fear of falling may be reduced by physical therapist intervention, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Physical therapists will answer questions about the risk factors of falling, how the body maintains its balance, and how older adults can help to improve their balance and reduce the risk of falling during a toll-free national hotline on Friday, February 8, from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, EST. The hotline is offered as a public service of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is not a substitute for a visit to a physical therapist or other health care professional. The toll-free number is 1-877-NEED-A-PT (633-3278).

"Falling and fear of falling among seniors is a public health problem and should not be accepted simply as a normal condition of aging," says physical therapist Leslie Allison, PT, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Sciences, at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Allison notes that there are several risk factors associated with falls, including: being older; being female; impairment of balance or walking; poor vision; leg or trunk weakness; reduced cognitive status (dementia); pre-existing medical conditions, such as Parkinson disease, stroke, or diabetes; being on more than four medications simultaneously; use of an assistive walking device; and a past history of falls.

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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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