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Diabetes and Balance

Did you know that each year over 1.8 million people have to go to the emergency room because they fell? A bad fall can result in broken bones, hospital bills, and even a loss of independence.

For diabetics, the risk of falling is compounded because many diabetics have poor sensation in their feet that hinders the sense of balance.

Here are three things diabetics can do to help lower their risk of falling:

1. Strengthen your leg muscles

Weak leg muscles have been show to increase a person’s chances of falling. To keep these muscles strong, you have to exercise them regularly.

Walking for at least 20 minutes several days per week is a good start. You might also try using a stationary bike, rowing machine, or treadmill if you have access to them. At home you can try standing up and sitting down in a chair ten or more times in a row. Or you can go up and down the stairs several times.

Start slow, and don’t do anything that hurts, but try to do something most days of the week.

2. Train your balance

Your sense of balance can be improved, too. Again, you have to use it on a regular basis. Try balancing on one foot every day for thirty seconds. Stand next to the kitchen sink and hold on to the counter if you need to. Over time try to use it less.

Standing activities that involve movement are especially good for balance, like dancing, bowling, bocce ball, horseshoes, and Tai Chi. See if you can incorporate more standing and moving into your daily life to keep your sense of balance in good shape.

3. Remove tripping hazards in your home

Most falls happen at home, but you can reduce your risk if you know what to look for. Take a fall prevention tour through your home and look for things that could cause a trip, like throw rugs, electric cords, frayed carpet, and clutter.

Also, make sure you have sturdy railings and grab bars in places where you might need them, like by the stairs and in the bathroom.

Falling is a common problem, but by taking a proactive approach, you can reduce your risk.

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