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Osteoporosis and Seniors

It is estimated that more than 200 million people are currently living with osteoporosis.  The condition is especially common among older women and is a medical condition characterized by having fragile bones.  The condition can be dangerous, so it is important to learn how to prevent or manage osteoporosis. (NCBI)

The Basics:

  1. What is osteoporosis?
    1. We rely on our bones for strength and support as well as movement.  Osteoporosis is a disease which weakens bone, making them fragile and thus susceptible to breaks and fractures.  When combined with other medical conditions, like arthritis, osteoporosis can make daily tasks both risky and painful.
  2. What causes osteoporosis?
    1. Normally it is a side effect of aging.  But it can be exacerbated and accelerated by other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, cancer, medications, poor nutrition, and negative habits like smoking.
    2. Risk factors include: being a woman, getting older, being of Caucasian or Asian descent, family history, small body frame, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise (Mayo Clinic)
  3. What are the potential outcomes?
    1. Breaks and fractures and the resulting complications
    2. Poor posture
    3. Limited mobility
  4. How is it diagnosed?
    1. A BMD, bone mineral density, test is to diagnose osteoporosis.  Doctors can also use other exams, scans, and lab tests to verify the extent of the disease. (National Osteoporosis Foundation)
  5. What are the symptoms?
    1. Loss of height
    2. Aches without injury
    3. Poor posture
    4. Oral bone loss conditions
    5. Regular fractures (WebMD)

Preventing and Managing Osteoporosis

  1. Prevention
    1. Consider incorporating the following into your lifestyle:
      1. Calcium
      2. Vitamin D
      3. Regular exercise
      4. A balanced Diet
  2. Management
    1. Learn to prevent falls and what to do if you do fall
    2. See your doctor for regular monitoring
    3. Eat a bone-healthy diet and subscribe to an exercise regimen
    4. Take medication for the treatment of osteoporosis (American Family Physician)
    5. Arrange home with safety in mind and learn how to get up and down safely (National Osteoporosis Foundation)

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