Diabetes and the associated risk of falling

Posted on: 25/03/2021

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.

There are 2 main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • Type 2 diabetes – where the body does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells do not react to insulin

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.

Having diabetes can increase the risk of falling. This is because the condition can cause physical impairments that may make you less steady on your feet. 

For example, diabetes can cause nerve damage and vision problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma. Since good eyesight can ensure you don't trip over things and nerve damage can reduce your balance, both symptoms are linked to frequent falls. 

A 2015 study in the journal Age and Ageing found that fear of falling is common among patients with diabetes, who often end up restricting their activities as a result. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to maintain good balance and posture, as well as make your environment safer to navigate.

It’s important to check in with your doctor regularly to ensure that your medication regimen isn’t causing bouts of hypoglycaemia or in any way interfering with your balance.

There are several different ways in which you can prevent falls in your home. You can read our article on preventing falls here.

A personal alarm can help protect people if they suffer from medical conditions like diabetes with either a personal pendant alarm or a falls detector. If you feel unwell you can press the red button on your pendant or if you have a fall, our falls detectors can automatically detect the fall and send an alert to our control centre who will be able to summon help on your behalf even if you are not conscious or able to do so yourself.

For more information on purchasing one of our life-saving personal alarms, please speak to one of our friendly advisers on 03333 204 999. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.