What Should You Know About Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that commonly affects seniors and is caused when the bones in our body lose minerals faster than they can be replaced. This causes them to become fragile and prone to fractures or serious breaks. Although there are many seniors at risk of experiencing a fracture, most won’t realize until after their first one, after which the risk of experiencing another goes up dramatically.
In fact, after the age of 50 men have a 25 percent increased chance of suffering from a fracture, while women over the age of 50 have a whopping 50 percent increased chance!
On top of 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. With all of this in mind it can be easy to see why osteoporosis treatment and prevention are crucial to senior care. Below we’ll look at a few of the leading options:
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Are There Any Medications?
Most of the drugs used to treat osteoporosis work the same way, by blocking the bone destroying cells that increase in as we get older. One compound, called Denosumab, works by preventing the formation of these cells.
In fact, Denosumab was shown to be effective in preventing fractures for two of the populations most at risk of developing osteoporosis, men in treatment for prostate cancer and postmenopausal women.
Other medications 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:
Be sure to talk to your doctor about any benefit or side effects that these medications may have. They can help determine if one is right for you or your loved one.
What About 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
What Role Does Diet Play?
Maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D is one of the best and easiest ways you and your loved one can prevent osteoporosis.
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 you can get calcium from but, if that isn’t providing enough, your doctor may recommend a supplement.
Natural sources calcium include:
- Almond milk
Vitamin D is essential to bone health due to the way our bodies absorb calcium. While most people will get enough vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, those who don’t can get it through their diet by eating fatty fish or fortified foods, or by taking a supplement as recommended by a doctor.
Physicians will often recommend exercise or physical therapy in addition to other osteoporosis treatments. Exercise can help improve your bone and muscle strength, your balance and your posture, making you less likely to suffer from a fall.
Exercise helps to improve bones at any age!
You can try combining resistance exercises like walking with weights in order to achieve the best results but, remember to contact your doctor before starting a new routine.
Prevent Falls From Occurring!
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:
- Hand rails for both sides of stairways
- Non slip treads for bare-wood steps
- Well lit walkways
Comfort Keepers® Cares!
When you choose to work with Comfort Keepers®, you’re choosing exceptional in home senior care. Each of our caregivers is trained in our unique philosophy called Interactive Caregiving™, meaning that they will provide all the physical, mental, and social support your loved one needs, while ensuring that they are able to live safely and independently in their own home.