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What You Need To Know About Osteoporosis

November 21, 2016

     Osteoporosis is a deteriorating bone disease in which the patient loses bone density over time causing bones to become weak and fragile.  Bones can very easily break, especially if someone with osteoporosis falls down.  Typically osteoporosis patients lose height, become hunched over, and may even have broken back bones.  It may become very hard to sit up or walk. Osteoporosis is asymptomatic, but broken bones are very painful.

     There are medications available to slow bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures.  Diets should be rich in calcium and vitamin D.  We need calcium to help build strong bones.  Most of the calcium in our bodies can be found in our bones, but we lose calcium everyday through our hair, nails, sweat, urine, and feces.  Unfortunately, our bodies do not make calcium.  We only get calcium from the food that we eat.  Yogurt, cheese, broccoli, salmon, kale, and calcium fortified drinks like milk and juice, are some foods that are rich in calcium.  You may choose to take calcium supplements as well.  Vitamin D is also important because it aids calcium absorption in our bodies.  Sunlight helps our bodies produce vitamin D.  There are also foods that we can add to our diet to increase vitamin D such as salmon, eggs, tuna, beef and of course vitamin D fortified drinks like milk or juice.  You may also choose to take a vitamin D supplement.

     Another way to maintain bone health is to incorporate exercise.  The best way to increase bone strength would be to use weights while going outdoors in the sunshine for a walk.  Remember the sun helps our bodies produce vitamin D which aids in calcium absorption in our bodies.  Since bones are living tissue, they become stronger with exercise.  Exercise builds muscle, increases coordination and balance which might reduce the chances of falling and breaking fragile bones.  However, not all exercise is helpful if you have osteoporosis.  It is not recommended for people with osteoporosis to bend and twist from the waist.  So, no sit ups or high impact aerobics.  You can consult your physician for an appropriate exercise program.

     Fall prevention is imperative for those afflicted with osteoporsis to reduce the risk of falling and breaking fragile bones.  Avoid walking on wet surfaces and wear rubber soled shoes to help reduce the risk of falling.  During inclement weather such as snow and ice, put down salt or kitty litter to prevent falls.  Inside the house;  get rid of clutter and always wear rubber soled shoes, not slippery socks or slippers.  Make sure grab bars are properly installed in bathrooms, and all hallways are well lit.  Staircases, should be brightly lit with sturdy handrails.  Do not reach for things;  use a step stool to easily reach items that you may need.  Lastly, keeping a cordless phone or cell phones nearby will prevent rushing for a ringing phone and possible falling in the process.

     Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease in which we lose bone density making it very easy to break our bones.  Healthy diet choices, medications, and exerise may help to maintain bone density with minimal further deterioration.  Choosing foods rich in calcium and vitamin D are helpful to maintain bone density.  Exercise may strengthen bones and build muscle which may prevent falls which could damage fragile bones.  Most importantly, taking steps to prevent falling is the best way to protect our bones.

 

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