Preventing Falls with Vitamin D
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Falls are the number one cause for injury-related morbidity and mortality in West Virginia’s seniors. Multiple independent variables contribute to the risk of a fall: previous falls, alterations in balance and vision, impairments in gait and strength, and medications most highly correlate with the risk for a fall. Vitamin D supplementation is emerging as an easy, safe and well-tolerated fall reduction/prevention strategy due to the beneficial effects on the musculoskeletal system with improvements in strength, function and navigational abilities. From meta-analysis data, maximal fall reduction benefit in seniors is achieved when correcting vitamin D deficiency and when using adjunctive calcium supplementation. It is therefore recommended that practitioners in our state screen for fall risks and consider the addition of supplementation protocols that provide sufficient vitamin D and calcium to our seniors.