A little known cause of falls in seniors

I lost track of the number of times I was called by hospital emergency to tell me my elderly mother had fallen again. Now, a study shows that atrial fibrillation, referred to as A Fib, an irregular heart rate, is often the cause of falling. I wish I had known then what I know now.

Dr. Sofie Jansen of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, Holland, analyzed the data of 4,800 adults. Twenty per cent reported that they had fallen at least once during the past year.

She reports the number of patients suffering from A Fib increased with advancing age, only 1% between 50 and 64 years of age, but 8% for those 75 and older. Over 30% were unaware they had A Fib before the study.

Some A Fib patients notice palpitations, breathlessness or fatigue as the heart rate becomes erratic. Since an irregularly beating heart does not pump enough oxygenated blood to the brain, this causes dizziness and researchers say it doubles the chance of falling.

The worry is that A Fib causes blood to swirl around longer in the chambers of the heart. This increases the risk of a blood clot forming and travelling to the brain. A stroke or a fall may result with serious injury.

Doctors normally treat A Fib with either drugs to thin the blood, making it less likely to clot, or ones to restore the rhythm. But these can cause bleeding and other side-effects. If either fails, more complicated procedures such as an electrical shock to the heart, or destruction of a portion of the heart’s tissue can be done.

Today, I would decrease the risk of treatment complications by first trying natural remedies. I would quickly give magnesium as each heart beat is controlled by an electrical impulse, requiring sufficient amounts of this mineral. Studies show that most North Americans are deficient in magnesium. So a powder such as MagSense or a magnesium pill can help to save patients from drugs or more complicated procedures.

Next would be a daily 81 mg (milligram) Aspirin to thin the blood. It can, on rare occasions, cause gastrointestinal bleeding, but I believe it is less risky than prescription drugs. I’d also add natural Vitamin E 200 IU which oils the blood.

Dr. Donna P. Denier, a cardiologist and member of The American College of Cardiology, says, “Even in the world of cardiologists it is not well known that diabetes is a risk factor for A Fib.”

She could have added that diabetes is notorious for causing atherosclerosis, (hardening of arteries) which decreases the flow of blood to the heart’s muscle.

My mother did not have diabetes but since a good supply of blood to the heart is vital as we age, I’d give my mother high doses of Vitamin C 4,000 to 6,000 mg (milligrams) and lysine 2,000 to 4,000 mg daily in powder or capsules. Recent studies show this can prevent and reverse atherosclerosis, a monumental finding. (See www.docgiff.com for photos showing this effect.)

Since hypertension and A Fib pose a high risk for stroke, I’d also suggest Neo40.

This miracle molecule decreases inflammation in arteries and makes platelets in the blood more slippery, so less likely to form a blood clot. Neo40 also increases the production of nitric oxide causing dilatation of arteries and a decrease in blood pressure. Most people are unaware of this remedy even though this discovery received the Nobel Prize in 1998. All these natural remedies are available in Health Food Stores.

Lastly, for those who do not drink alcohol, don’t start. But for those who are moderate drinkers I’d suggest an alcoholic drink before dinner. Alcohol oils the blood and can help to prevent a blood clot.

I no longer receive calls that my mother has fallen, but like all those who have lost a mother, how I wish I could get that call again.

For Weekly Medical Tips see the web site at www.docgiff.com. For comments, email info@docgiff.com.

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