Deadly Fall Killed Gary Coleman And Other CKD And Dialysis Patients May Be At Risk




Many people know Gary Coleman as the light-hearted television character, Arnold, which he played in the TV Series, Different Strokes. However, most do not know that he suffered Kidney Failure and died as a result of a fall at home after his Dialysis treatment. Even fewer Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients realize that studies have found that 13% of patients fell at least once with 80% of the falls occurring at home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury." In fact, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.  Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture (3 to 4 times higher in Dialysis patients). The one-year mortality (death) for hip fracture in Dialysis patients is as high as 60% due to reduced bone mineral density.

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In Mr. Coleman's case, "He had Dialysis on the morning of his fall and one of his friends reported that he had been feeling very weak after the session," the website Renal Fellow reported. Unfortunately, he fell at his home later on in the afternoon and suffered a serious head injury from which he was unable to recover. How many times have you felt weak and tired after your Dialysis treatments? Have you ever felt like you could faint? Then, you are at risk of a serious fall. 

You can help prevent life-threatening falls by adopting the following tips:

1. Avoid overly aggressive fluid removal.

2. Wear non-skid sole shoes. 

3. Floppy slippers, stockings, loose shoes, and even bare feet can cause a fall.

4. After reclining in a chair for a long period of time, you may consider sitting-up for a couple minutes before standing up to minimize dizziness and sudden decrease in blood pressure.

5. Home hazards or dangers such as broken or uneven stair steps, throw rugs or clutter that can be tripped over, and no handrails along stairs or in the bathroom all contribute to falls.

6. Be very careful if you use medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants. Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.

7. Ensure that you have the appropriate amounts of Vitamin D in your system. The CDC noted that Vitamin D deficiency causes falls.

Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should always tell their nurses and/or doctors if they feel dizzy, weak, lightheaded, and especially if they have recently fallen. Frequent falls may indicate other health problems that need to be assessed. 

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