Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells called plasma cells. Plasma cells are created in the bone marrow and play an important role in immunity.
Cancerous plasma cells grow very quickly, which makes it harder for the body to fight off infections. Multiple myeloma can also weaken bones and make them more likely to fracture. This is known as myeloma bone disease.
Multiple myeloma is often diagnosed in older adults at least 65 years old, according to the
The overall risk of falls increases with age. It’s estimated that every year,
Living with multiple myeloma can also increase fall risk, according to
Consider meeting with a physical therapist if you’re concerned about falls. This type of specialist can provide personalized strategies and recommend assistive devices to help prevent falls.
Meanwhile, follow these steps to keep yourself safe.
Comfortable, secure shoes with a nonslip rubber sole are best. Avoid wearing only socks, which can be slippery on hard floors.
If you’re feeling fatigued or a bit unsteady, use a cane or walker to help you get around safely. The extra support can help keep you safe. Using the wrong device can be even more dangerous — so consult with a physical therapist about which one you should use.
Do your best to keep pathways clear in your home. Store items off the floor or out of the way, against the walls.
Throw rugs are a common tripping hazard. Securing them to the floor ensures they can’t slide around and prevents the corners from flipping up. If you use a rug because your floors are cold, consider installing wall-to-wall carpet or wearing shoes around the house to prevent falls.
Make sure all areas of your home are well-lit. Consider using night lights if you frequently get up and move around overnight. It’s hard to navigate around tripping hazards when you can’t see them.
Falls can happen when getting in and out of the shower or bath or standing up from the toilet. Have handrails within reach and use them to stay safe.
Move slowly when you go from lying down to sitting or standing. Some people experience a blood pressure drop with position changes. This can make you feel dizzy and unsteady.
Exercises to improve your balance and strength can reduce your fall risk. Walking or doing gentle stretches and yoga poses can also help with the fatigue of multiple myeloma.
Fatigue is very common with multiple myeloma. Feeling tired can make you less steady on your feet. Take time to rest every day, and ask for help with tasks when you don’t have the energy to do them yourself.
Feeling weak or fatigued is common for people living with multiple myeloma. Consider asking for help with daily errands or with keeping your home clean and safe.
Changes to your vision can happen gradually, so you may not notice if your eyesight isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Maintaining good vision can help you avoid trip and fall hazards. Schedule regular eye exams so any changes are caught early.
Medications used for multiple myeloma may come with side effects like fatigue or dizziness. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any side effects that may make you more likely to fall.
Having multiple myeloma can increase your risk of a fall. And people with multiple myeloma are at greater risk of bone fractures.
You can take many steps to reduce your fall risk. If you have fallen or are afraid of falling, tell your doctor.
They may refer you to have a fall assessment done. This service provides personalized advice on how to stay safe.