Being diagnosed with Osteoporosis may feel like a blow. It is important for you to know, however, that the condition can be managed and you can still live a vibrant and active life.
By adopting some simple lifestyle changes you can preserve your current bone levels and slow down bone loss as you get older.
Osteoporosis Symptoms and Causes
Osteoporosis is very common. 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 and 1 in 5 men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime. Osteoporosis can be caused by poor diet or nutrient absorption, unhealthy lifestyles, or as a side effect of other bodily disorders or therapies.
Osteoporosis Can Be Caused By:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A low-nutrient diet
- Overconsumption of coffee or alcohol
- Bone marrow disorders
- Thyroid disorders
- Hormone imbalance or hormonal therapy
- Radiation therapy
Early indicators of osteoporosis include brittle fingernails, receding gums, weak grip strength and a decline in physical fitness. Many people don’t get tested for osteoporosis until they have more severe symptoms.
Advanced Osteoporosis Symptoms Include:
- A bone that broke very easily
- Height loss due to collapsing spine vertebrae
- Stooped posture
- Bone pain
You will be referred for a bone mineral density test if a doctor suspects you might have osteoporosis. The most common bone mineral density test is a Dexa-Scan (dual-energy X-ray) along with blood work.
There is no cure for osteoporosis, but you can manage the condition to help reduce bone loss and stay healthy.
Tips For Managing Osteoporosis
Along with medication, this section recommends changes to your lifestyle that will help you keep your osteoporosis at bay.
Your doctor may recommend bisphosphonate medication to help slow down bone loss. These drugs have been shown to be effective at reducing the chance of bone fracture.
Bisphosphonate Medications for Osteoporosis Include:
- Alendronate (Fosamax)
- Risedronate (Actonel)
- Ibandronate (Boniva)
- Zoledronic acid (Reclast)
Eating a balanced diet and ensuring proper intake of protein, calcium and vitamin D will keep your bone loss at bay. Calcium is key to generating bone, and the body needs vitamin D to process the calcium.
There are also studies suggesting that eating slightly more than your recommended daily protein may reduce bone loss.
Recommended Foods For Osteoporosis Include:
- Dairy products
- Green leafy vegetables
If dietary issues are keeping you from eating enough vitamin D or calcium-rich foods, talk to your doctor about supplements.
Strength and Aerobic Exercises For Osteoporosis
Your muscles act as scaffolding for your bones. By keeping your muscles strong you can help prevent fractures, and exercise can maintain bone density as well.
Light weight-training, stretching or aerobic exercise such as running, swimming or biking are all good options to keep your body strong. Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting a fitness regimen.
For more fitness ideas, read our post: What Exercises Help Older Adults Stay Fit Best?
Balance Exercises For Osteoporosis
Actively maintaining balance through exercise will help prevent falls in the home and outside. Balance exercises are great for seniors with any level of mobility and can be performed in the home.
Be sure to read our post: 10 Balance Exercises For Seniors To Keep You on Your Toes
Fall Protection and Insurance
Falling and suffering a fracture in the home is always possible no matter how careful you are. Identifying and removing trip hazards and adding accessibility features is a sensible precaution to take to avoid unfortunate accidents.
Here Are Some Suggestions to Prevent Falls at Home:
- Remove loose rugs from the home
- Ensure all electrical cords are tucked away
- Install a ramp at the home entrance
- Install safety rails and grab bars
- Apply a non-slip surface or mat to your shower
- Add more lighting to your home with voice or sound activation
- Get up and lie down slowly
- Use a cane or other support to move around the home
As an added precaution, you may also want to look into fall protection. Having medical coverage will give you peace of mind that in the event of an emergency your medical expenses won’t be a burden. Our services page contains several links that can show you what’s available to you.