People with diabetes can be susceptible to falls, especially if they experience numbness, or have been diagnosed with neuropathy or certain neurological problems. The latest information discusses the possible benefits of exercise and vitamin D to help prevent falls when you have diabetes. Learn more about how vitamin D and exercise may help people with diabetes stay strong and maintain better balance.
- Research concerning vitamin D, exercise and falling with diabetes is conflicting. Some studies find neither plays a major role in the prevention of falls. Others recommend vitamin D as a ways to reduce the possibility of falling. There are also studies that support ongoing exercise to minimize falling with diabetes. The bottom line is vitamin D continues to be recommended by physicians because along with multiple other benefits, it helps build stronger bones, which may reduce the potential of falling. Exercise is also recommended to boost better balance, maintain a healthy weight and stay stronger. People with diabetes should eat a well-balanced diet that includes vitamin D sources. Look for dairy products , foods supplemented with vitamin D or supplements including capsules, tablets or liquid forms of Vitamin D. Try to exercise for at least a half hour for a minimum of 5 days each week for added benefits to your bone strength.
- One study showed balance training and vitamin D were associated with a significant drop in the rate of injuries and falls among older women who live at home. Conditioning through exercise can lead to safer landing techniques if a person with diabetes falls; this could lower the rate of total injuries. In this study, vitamin D was associated with an 11 percent decreased rate of falls. As a result, physicians are advised to keep recommending vitamin D and exercise for patients at risk of falling. Vitamin D supplements have limited side effects, are low risk and affordable. Exercise can reduce serious injuries in a fall and may boost your overall health. This continues to make vitamin D and exercise viable options for people with diabetes.
- Falls can lead to unintentional injuries and fractures in older adults. Hip fractures are one of the leading causes of death in elderly people due to complications. Vitamin D can help preserve bone health, improve bone density, foster greater muscle strength and may reduce potential injuries in seniors. Exercise should focus on improving your balance, agility, movement, strength and ability to lift weight. Consider adding exercises such as Tai chi, yoga, gentle weight lifting and aerobics to your routine. Incorporate a half hour of stretching, walking, weight lifting or other exercise into each day for optimum health. Work on simple balance exercises such as brushing your teeth while standing on one leg or waiting in line and balancing on one leg. Walking and balancing on a thin plank of wood is also helpful. Regular exercise may also help ward off diabetes-related health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and stroke. Use a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure before and after exercising. Discuss any concerns with your doctor immediately.
- Try walking outdoors to get exercise and vitamin D from the sun. A small amount of direct sun light early in the morning helps you absorb Vitamin D. Add sunscreen after your initial exposure to the sun. Other ways to get vitamin D include eating fatty fish- including salmon or tuna, as well as eating Portobello mushrooms and fortified skim milk with vitamin D. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Ask about taking vitamin D supplements to find out if they are good options for you. Remember that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and ingesting too much may raise your levels too high. Gets a blood test checking your vitamin D levels as suggested by your physician.
While research is still being done, there is sufficient evidence to show vitamin D and regular exercise can help prevent injuries that could occur during or after a fall. They may also help prevent falls. People with diabetes should consult with their health care team about increasing their intake of vitamin D and establishing a beneficial exercise routine.