Alert1's July 2021 Newsletter

Diabetes Medications Linked to Increased Fall Risks for Seniors


Falling is a significant risk factor for seniors with diabetes. Past studies have found that at least 39% of elderly diabetic individuals experience multiple falls. New research shows that insulin therapy may be an important contributor to these accidents. Additionally, drug interactions for patients taking multiple medications can lead to falls.

A new study has traced this increased risk of falls to certain drugs and drug combinations. The study surveyed the nearly 47,000 type 2 diabetic people who are in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Diabetes Registry. The results found that patients who took four or more medications were at a greater risk of experiencing a fall. The researchers posited that drug combinations may result in muscle weakness, balance abnormalities, or vertigo. The study also found that patients who experienced falls related to insulin treatment may also indicate a more significant disease that requires additional diagnostic testing. These falls may also be connected to a hypoglycaemia episode. But, in general, diabetes medications and drug interactions both contribute to fall frequency and result in more dangerous fall outcomes.

The Increased Risk for Seniors

Seniors should be mindful that these diabetes- and medication-related falls can lead to broken bones. As a result, these falls can lead to emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Overall, seniors aged 65 years and older contributed more than 2.4 million emergency room visits in 2018. Females should note that falls are more frequent and more dangerous for people who are post-menopausal.

People who have diabetes, as well as those using these diabetes medications, should strongly consider investing in Alert1’s medical alert system with fall detection. This technology allows seniors to receive help in the event a fall is detected, even if they are unable to press their button. Our Fall Detection-enabled devices trigger an alert when built-in sensors detect falls, and the member will be automatically connected to one of our trained emergency responders.

Alert1’s Command Center agents are better equipped to handle calls than most. Alert1 emergency response agents have extensive training, and they remain on the line with seniors until help arrives. The insistence on remaining on the line with those experiencing a frightening or traumatic fall separates Alert1 from other companies, most of whom don’t offer this important feature.

Focusing on Elderly Diabetes Patients

The American Geriatrics Society recommends a greater focus on elderly patients with diabetes. By doing so, we can help prevent senior falls, as well as minimize dangerous fall outcomes. 10% of these falls results in anything from fractures to head injuries. In some cases, these falls may even contribute to a person’s death.

Adults are more likely to become diabetic as they age. Around 25% of adults who are 60 or older have diabetes. If you have recently received a diabetes diagnosis, we’d like you to know that our technology provides the 24/7/365 protection you may need while navigating the side effects of your new medication.

Doctors may diagnose diabetes at different stages. Many people believe type 1 diabetes begins during childhood, but adults can develop new-onset type 1 diabetes later in life. This form of the condition can develop even if your family does not have a history of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common for seniors. This form of the condition can occur in people who are inactive or overweight. Additional risk factors can include a family history of the disease and certain ethnicities.

If you are diagnosed with either type of diabetes, your doctor will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. In general, older patients should avoid irregular blood pressure, and they should try to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes that may include diet and weight loss.

Many doctors will also suggest physical activity as a supplement to medicinal treatment. But for some older adults, increased physical activity might also introduce a risk of falling. If your doctor suggests increasing exercise, ask about working with a physical therapist. These professionals can help guide you through balance and muscle strengthening exercises, which can decrease your risk of falling. As always, be sure to wear your medical alert system when you head out for a sweat session.

But, in addition to lifestyle changes, doctors will likely prescribe certain medications. Thiazolidinediones (TZD) are some of the most common. These drugs are insulin sensitizers, and they allow the body to regulate insulin. TZD can also increase insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscles. Also, rather unfortunately, these drugs also pose a risk for elderly patients. New research shows that common side effects include an increased fall risk and poor fall outcomes.

If you have diabetes, or if you take TZD, you may be concerned about your increased risk of falling. Using Alert1’s medical alert systems means that seniors are always protected. We don’t charge our members for “false alarms” or multiple button pushes, and our trained staff is always standing by to assist in the case of an emergency. Whether you’ve had diabetes for years or only just received a diagnosis, adding Fall Detection to your safety toolkit is a great idea that may bring you additional peace of mind, especially if you live alone.

Alert1 Medical Alert Systems with Fall Detection are Ideal for People Using Diabetes Medications

Because falling is a major concern for seniors who are taking diabetes medication, Alert1’s in-home or mobile medical alert systems with built-in fall detection provide several safety options for seniors who want protection in the event of an emergency.

Our systems are made to operate simply and quickly. Members simply press the button alarm if they’ve fallen and require assistance. With the automatic fall detection feature enabled, the alarm’s sensors detect a fall and send the Command Center an alert even if the user can’t press the button. The button alarm is 100% showerproof and can assist seniors under any circumstances, at any time, indoors or outside.

After an alert is triggered, a US-based Command Center operator will come on the line within seconds. These operators are trained to respond to emergencies — even if the member is non-verbal and unable to communicate.

Our response team will stay on the line until help arrives. These professionals will also help to minimize any worry your loved ones may be feeling. The team can contact family members, doctors, and neighbors to let them know you have had an accident.

Our members have different options when choosing products, but the highest level of protection is offered by fall detection technology. This includes our At Home Alert System with Fall Detection device and our On the Go unit with Fall Detection option. For the optimal level of security, members may combine At Home and On the Go systems with Fall Detection.

If you’re not sure which device to get, know that we offer guidance to help figure out which medical alert system is best for you. When at home, you can select either a necklace or wristband to wear on your person. In the event of a fall, a first responder will be right there to assist you when you need it.

The unfortunately reality of aging, medical conditions, and various medications is that falls are often unavoidable — especially for those with multiple contributing factors at play. Your medical alert system enables you to ask for and receive help quickly in the event of a life-threatening or otherwise serious medical emergency.

Additional Methods of Staying Healthy

Medication and a medical alert system are just one part of staying healthy as a senior. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will likely recommend a holistic approach to treatment. For many, this involves living a healthier lifestyle. A doctor may recommend any of the following changes or activities:

  • Dietary Changes: A healthy diet is essential to healthy living. Adjustments to your diet can include cutting out or decreasing sugar and saturated fats. Focus on eating foods that are high in protein and fiber. Seniors should also consume more whole grains, vegetables, and beans.
  • Get Active: Senior diabetics can remain healthy by staying active. Most doctors recommend that seniors exercise 30 minutes a day for five days a week. Consistent exercise helps regulate and maintain lower blood sugar levels. Walking, light stretches, or gentle water aerobics can also lead to healthy weight loss.
  • Schedule Regular Visits to the Doctor: If you have a diabetes diagnosis, getting regular care is essential. Consider visiting a diabetes management clinic or a primary care medical service. Regular visits with knowledgeable medical care providers can make a huge difference. These specialized clinics assist seniors who have complications from diabetes. The clinics also allow you to collect information and tools to improve your quality of life.
  • Get Your Vaccines: Interestingly, getting vaccinated is a very important part of living a healthy life as an older diabetic. Your immune system weakens as you grow older, and seniors often catch illnesses like the flu or pneumonia. Seniors who are diabetic are highly susceptible to these types of illnesses.
  • Learn to Relax: Reducing stress levels can go a long way. Many seniors struggle to embrace stress-free lives. High stress levels can also cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. Try taking up meditation, or possibly adopting a pet for companionship.

Assistance Can Be Right Beside You

Seniors who take diabetes medications have a heightened risk of falling, but this doesn’t mean they can’t continue to age in place. Our alert systems can help seniors mitigate potential injury by getting them the help that they need fast.

For those with Diabetes, there are more reasons than ever to invest in a medical alert system. There is a population swell of seniors aged 65 and older. That swell also increases the number of seniors who are living with diabetes. It is crucial to ensure that the senior population is safe and that assistance is readily available should a fall occur. Your medical alert system can eliminate some of the fear and uncertainty that come from experiencing an unexpected fall, providing reassurance that help is always standing by and you will never have to face an emergency alone.