The Dangers of Falling: Part 2

  • February 21, 2018

By Matt Sizemore, KION  |  Feb 21, 2018



SALINAS, Calif.– We’re continuing our series on some of the dangers that people face when they fall. some falls happen after a stroke. We talked with doctors at Natividad Medical Center to find out the two are connected.

"A stroke is when a part of the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, and that could happen either by blocking a large vessel or a small vessel, or it can happen from a blood clot that gets clogged by a plaque or blood clot that dislodges from the heart or a large artery," said Natividad Medical Center Acute Rehab Unit Medical Director Dr. Anthony Galicia.

Strokes can result from many of the same symptoms associated with heart attacks.

"Uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease," said Natividad Medical Center Emergency Department Medical Director Christopher Burke.

Strokes are damaging enough by themselves, but they’re also one of the many contributors to falls.

"If there’s a part of the brain that dies, then those functions won’t work correctly. And if you can’t move, let’s say, part of your body because of the stroke, then you will be very weak on that side and you will fall," said Dr. Galicia.

It’s something that local emergency responders deal with often.

"For those patients, they get access to a 12-lead EKG, we immediately place those patients on a cardiac monitor, and depending on the outcome, they’re either transported to a trauma facility or to a cardiac receiving facility for care," said Monterey Regional Fire Division Chief Eric Ulwelling. 

The danger of falling doesn’t just go away after a stroke, a real challenge for recovering patients.

"So unlike extremity injuries that can heal, the brain does not heal itself very well, so once you have a stroke which is killing some brain tissue, you can be left with permanent disabilities," said Dr. Burke. 

Just like any emergency, being prepared is important. medical alarms worn on the body can be activated to summon emergency crews when a phone isn’t an option.