Injury Prevention

An est. 5 million Canadians will suffer an injury each year that is usually severe enough to limit their normal activities and send them to their physician or nearest emergency room.

Ali Ghahary - Injury Prevention

Some of the most common types of injuries that Ali Ghahary sees as a practicing physician in Vancouver include sprains and strains, followed by fractures and broken bones, as well as the typical cuts, scrapes, bruises and blisters.

Those at a higher risk of developing an injury include children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19, as well as seniors. Injuries can affect many parts of the body including the ankles, feet, legs, hands, wrists, shoulders, elbows, arms and even head – and can lead to concussion, and sometimes even death. In Canada, the majority of injuries in youth are often caused by sports or other recreational activities. For seniors, injuries often occur as a result of walking or doing household chores.

In order to prevent injury, Dr. Ali Ghahary suggests taking precautions, such as wearing helmets and other safety gear.

Concussions, for example, are often a result of physical activity and/or sports, and are most commonly seen in hockey and football players. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of developing a concussion. For a more in-depth look at concussions and how they are treated, read Dr. Ghahary’s article titled ‘Concussions: Risk and Prevention.’

concussions

Seniors are also at an increased risk of injury due to their bones being more fragile. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations as well as deaths for seniors living in British Columbia. Prevention may include a number of factors such as in-home changes, using wheelchairs and/or walkers, and ensuring that snow and ice is cleared from outdoor staircases and walkways to avoid slips, trips and falls during winter months.

Click here for a detailed slideshow on how injuries can impact the body’s muscles and ligaments. You can also find information on other injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, by clicking here.

Advertisements

Concussions: Risks and Prevention

With thousands of children and teenagers now back to school and also partaking in after-school activities, health professionals in Canada, like Dr. Ali Ghahary, will begin to see contact sport-related injuries on the rise such as sprains, bone fractures and concussions.

concussionA concussion occurs when the brain impacts the inside of the skull, usually the result of a direct blow to the head, and causes damage that ultimately changes how your brain cells function.

While concussions are common among athletes and school-aged children, kids and adolescents are also at higher risk of developing a concussion due to the fact that their brains are still growing. Symptoms of conclusions can be physiological (including headaches, dizziness and nausea, cognitive (including lack of concentration, memory loss and slurred speech), as well as emotional (depression and anxiety.) As concussions can have serious and sometimes life-altering effects, it is important that these symptoms are taken seriously and treated immediately. It is also important to watch out for late signs of a concussion, as symptoms can take as long as hours, days, or even weeks to develop. If left untreated, a concussion can lead to a traumatic brain injury (500 out of every 100,000 Canadians are diagnosed with a TBI each year), and can even be fatal.

Children are not the only age group at high-risk of developing concussions, however. Seniors are also susceptible to developing concussions, usually the result of a fall, something that is quite common with age. Studies have also shown that seniors with concussions had a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as opposed to those who have not had any previous head injuries. Seniors that do develop a concussion may require hospitalization and long-term rehabilitative care depending on the severity of the injury.

In order to prevent a concussion, one should always ensure that they are taking appropriate steps to reduce that risk. These steps include wearing the proper headgear and padding during sports, wearing appropriate footwear, wearing a seatbelt while in a vehicle, and keeping your home safe by moving any clutter and keeping dark spaces well lit. Regular, low-impact exercise in older individuals will also help to strengthen the bones and muscles, improve balance, and decrease the risk of falls.

Senior Health

hand-588982_960_720With Canadians living longer, it is also important to note of the potential health risks that come with aging. As such, Health Canada is continuously researching ways to recognize the ongoing needs of seniors in Canada.

Some important principles that Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends for his patients are healthy eating, injury prevention, good oral hygiene, physical activity and smoking cessation; all of which are especially crucial for the well being of seniors in Canada today. Below we will take a slightly closer look at some of the foundations of these principles and the important roles that they play in helping seniors live healthier, happier lives.

fruits-155616_960_720Good nutrition, in particular, is relevant not only for your overall health, but also for seniors to maintain good balance, strength and resistance as they age, with the Canadian Food Guide recommending that all adults ages 51 and older eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, 6 to 7 services of grain products (bread, quinoa, cereal, cooked pasta) per day, up to 3 servings of milk/alternatives (fortified soy beverages, yogurt, cheese) per day, and 2 to 3 services of meat/alternatives (cooked fish, shellfish, poultry, lean meats, tofu, eggs, peanut butter, nuts and seeds) per day.

Up to 30% of seniors experience at least one fall every year, which are the dominant cause of injuries to seniors, and 85% of those falls requiring hospitalization. Common causes of falls amongst seniors include poor balance, usually due to declining muscle and bone strength, diminishing vision or hearing loss, and unsafe conditions in the home. It is important to take preventative measures in and around the home to avoid injury. This can be done by adding non-slip surfaces to the bathroom, eliminating clutter, installing good lighting in the home, having well-lit walkways and stairways, and placing otherwise hard-to-reach items in spots that are easier to get to. In the autumn and winter months it is also imperative to clear paths and staircases of any snow, ice or leaves in order to avoid slipping.

Low-impact exercise such as walking or aqua-fit is also beneficial to senior health, but one should always first check with their family physician before commencing any new exercise programs.