Is Osteoporosis Even A Big Deal For Fargo, ND Seniors?
Osteoporosis is an ailment that commonly affects seniors. It occurs when the bones in our body begin to lose minerals faster than they can be replaced, causing them to become brittle and prone to fracture. Many seniors who suffer from osteoporosis don’t even know until the first fracture occurs, after which the risk of another fracture increases dramatically!
In fact, after the age of 50, women have a 50 percent chance of suffering an osteoporosis-related fracture, while men 50 and over have a 25 percent chance.
On top of all this, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), low bone mass and osteoporosis affect 52 million Americans and accounts for two million fractures and $19 billion in related expenses each year. Due to the high physical and financial cost that osteoporosis presents, prevention and treatment take a high priority in senior care. Below are a few of the current leading options:
Are Any Medications Available?
Most osteoporosis medications work the same way, by blocking the effect of bone-destroying cells that increase as we get older. One of these compounds, called Denosumab, can help to prevent the formation of these cells in the first place.
In fact, Denosumab was shown to be effective in preventing fractures in the two most at risk populations for osteoporosis, postmenopausal women and men in treatment for prostate cancer!
Other osteoporosis medications, from a class called bisphosphonates, work in a way that is similar to the hormone estrogen, meaning that they inhibit bone breakdown, preserve bone mass, and may even increase bone density in the hips and spine. Examples of these medications include:
Always be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and side effects of any new medications, they can help determine if it will be safe and effective for you or your loved one.
Exercise And Physical Therapy Can Increase Bone Strength
Doctors will often recommend exercise or physical therapy in addition to any osteoporosis medications due to the fact that regular exercise can help improve bone and muscle strength, posture, and balance. This can benefit people no matter their age, as well as help to prevent falls and thereby fractures.
Adding weight to resistance exercises like walking can help you or your loved one achieve the best results but, be sure to always talk to a doctor before making any changes to your routine.
How Safe Is Hormone Therapy?
Due to the availability of other treatment options, estrogen therapy is generally not the first choice for maintaining bone density. Potential serious side effects can include the increased risk of :
- blood clots
- breast and endometrial cancer
- heart disease
Diet Is Key!
One of the easiest ways that you and your loved one are able to protect your bones from osteoporosis is by maintaining a diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D. Of course, be sure to remember that the amount of calcium your bones will need changes as you age.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), seniors should get around 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day with a max of 2,500 milligrams a day.
There are a number of foods that are naturally high in calcium that you can incorporate into your diet but, if you or your senior are still having trouble, your doctor may recommend taking a supplement as well.
Natural sources calcium include:
- Canned salmon with the bones
- Cooked kale
Vitamin D is also essential to bone health due to the way our body absorbs calcium and while the amount obtained through exposure to sunlight is enough for most people, some may have to take care to eat fortified foods or take an additional supplement.
Preventing Accidents And Falls
Additionally, you can help reduce the risk of injury by taking steps to make your home, or your loved one’s, safer. Things to check for can include:
- Loose floorboards or area rugs
- Electric cords
- Non slip mats in the bathroom
Comfort Keepers® Personal Care: A Step Above The Rest
When you work with Comfort Keepers®, you can be assured that your loved one is receiving the best in home senior care. By using our unique approach called Interactive Caregiving™, our caregivers ensure that the seniors they look after are nourished mentally, physically, and socially in order to help them live happily and independently in their own home.
If you’d like to learn more about how Comfort Keepers®senior care is a step above the rest or would like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (701) 297-2431.