What Is Osteoporosis Anyways? Our Milwaukee, WI Senior Care Team Explores The Topic
Osteoporosis is a common ailment that affects seniors. It is caused when the bones in our body lose minerals faster than they can be replaced, causing them to become fragile and more prone to fracture, or serious breaks, from an accidental fall.
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.
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, with the odds increasing dramatically after the first occurrence!
Due to the high physical and financial cost that osteoporosis presents to senior care, prevention and treatment are high priorities.
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.
Is Hormone Therapy A Good Option?
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
Exercise: A Key To Strong Bones
Often, physicians will recommend an exercise routine or physical therapy in addition to other osteoporosis treatments. This has to to with the way exercise can help improve bone and muscle strength, posture, and balance at any age, making accidental falls and fractures less likely.
If you want to step up your strengthening, you can try adding weights to resistance exercises, like walking or swimming but, always be sure to check with your doctor before making changes to your routine.
What Role Does Diet Play?
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:
- Soy products
- 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 papers or boxes in walkways
- Furniture in busy walkways
- Poorly lit hallways or stairs
Comfort Keepers®Personal Care: A Step Above The Rest
When you choose to work with a Comfort Keepers® caregiver, you’re choosing the best in home senior care. Each of our caregivers is specially trained in our unique approach to care called Interactive Caregiving™, meaning their mental, physical, and social health will be supported in order to ensure they can live happily and independently in their own homes.
If you’d like to learn more about our caregivers and their commitment to exceptional senior careservices or would like to schedule your free in home consultation please, contact us online anytime or call us at (414) 207-6894.