NORFOLK, Neb. -- September marks Fall Prevention Month which shines light on an overlooked problem plaguing citizens over the age of 65. Three to four out of 10 people within this age group fall once a year making it imperative to know how to prevent such falls or how to respond after a fall happens.   

Faith Regional Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Dr. Mahmut Kaner said no matter the suspected severity of a fall, patients should seek immediate attention after their first fall to seek the reason behind their fall.  

"It can be a balance issue, it can be abilities that you have such as blood pressure, heart problems, or it can be as simple as ankle pain, knee pain,” said Kaner. “You know that's why you really need to talk about these things and tell your physician that hey I've been falling." 

According to a CDC study, research found that in 2021 14 million falls were recorded with 39 thousand people dying from unintentional falls. 

Kaner said that within the northeast area, there hasn't been evidence to show an increase in falls but keeping an active lifestyle can help lower the chance of falls. 

"Middle of Nebraska, you know farming is a big thing, and people have always been active in their entire life, so actually it helps them to be active in their elderly, because their muscle strength, their body physiques are still very good, but it comes with problems right like arthritis, back pain, wear, and tear problems,” said Kaner.  

Kaner said that patients can follow safety tips such as using canes or walkers, making sure their houses are well lit especially at nighttime, utilizing grab bars in the shower to be proactive against falls; and taking everyday vitamins to strengthen their bodies. 

"They should definitely take vitamin D, which has been proven in the literature that will increase your strength, muscle mass, bone production, so just a pill a day with the vitamin D, usually they are 800 units a day, which will have a big impact in your life,” said Kaner.  

Despite falls being common in elderly people, those younger in age can face problems as well with heightened severity to those who've recently been sick or suffered sickness for a long period of time.  

"So when you get sick regardless of your age, you actually lose your physical ability and your muscle mass, so it comes with weakness and then an unintentional fall, and you're like wow why did I fall, because every day you stay in the bed or in the hospital, you're losing couple percent of your general muscle mass,” said Kaner. 

Kaner said that having a whole month dedicated to this issue helps to bring more awareness not only to those more susceptible to falls but to those around them as well.  

More visits with primary care physicians can lead to fewer major surgeries, hospitalizations, deaths, and falls. 

"We need to make sure and do our best as a doctor and also patients, they need to talk about it,” said Kaner. “Everybody needs to mention 'Hey have you been falling, or hey I had a fall last month.' You know you got to talk about this."