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Recognizing Your Potential Risk of Falls

Recognizing Your Potential Risk of Falls

By Cathy Chapman, Patient Representative, The MSA Coalition

“How many times have you fallen?”

This is one of the first questions I am asked when I see my neurologist.

Risk of falling is a constant concern for MSA patients as our symptoms continue to change. Recognizing the risks and implementing safety measures can help decrease falls and injuries.

The following factors can contribute to the risk of falling:

  • Weakened Balance
  • Slow movement
  • Stiffness
  • Poor coordination
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Dizziness (i.e., Orthostatic Hypotension)
  • Medication side effects
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Sudden onset of infection (e.g., UTI, lung infection, etc.)
  • Uneven surfaces particularly in outdoor spaces

Safety measures that can be implemented to decrease fall risk:

  • Remove throw rugs
  • Wear shoes with good tread
  • Use night lights around the house
  • Keep a flashlight by your bedside
  • Have grab bars or handrails installed
  • Put a shower chair in your bathroom
  • Sit at the edge of your bed before standing
  • Take your time getting out of a chair
  • Stay as mobile as you can, but continue to prioritize safety
  • Use a cane, walker, or wheelchair


It is important to consult with your doctor and include an occupational therapist as part of your care team. With their expertise, an evaluation of your home and physical limitations can ensure a safer environment and better quality of life.

Take one day at a time and live each day at YOUR best.

The Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) Coalition aids patients and their families with research, education, advocacy, and compassion to cure this rare neurodegenerative disorder. Start your journey of hope with our complete resources for MSA-P, MSA-C, and dysautonomia here. Many times, the early stages of MSA are misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. Get the caring help you need from the world’s first, and pre-eminent, MSA organization.

During our 30-year history, our staff, volunteers, and personal fundraisers have devoted themselves to improving the quality of life for people living with MSA. Learn more about us and about how to care for yourself or a loved one. We also have an extensive glossary of MSA terms for those with a new diagnosis. Our Annual Conference, currently virtual, is noted for the latest information from the world’s leading experts. Patients and caregivers can also find new insights and new friends at this virtual event. As a coalition working together, we can find a cure for MSA.