Strong Bones For Senior Citizens Key To Good Health
Strong bones in senior citizens is the key to their good health. Statistics show that seniors are very susceptible to falls which can lead to broken bones, disability and even death.
For older people, weak bones can be deadly. One in five people with a hip fracture dies within a year of their injury. One in three adults who lived independently before their hip fracture, now remains in a nursing home for a least a year after their injury. Many others become isolated, depressed, or frightened to leave home because they fear they will fall.
But, with good habits and medical attention when needed, seniors can maintain their bones and lower their risk for fractures.
Strong Bones: Reduce Your Risks
Many things weaken bones. Some are outside your control. If you have a family member who has bone problems, you could also be at risk. Some medical conditions can also make you prone to bone disease.
There are some things you can control:
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet at every age.
- Be physically active.
- Reduce hazards in your home that could increase your risk of falling and breaking bones.
- Talk with your doctor about medicines you are taking that could weaken bones, like medicine for thyroid problems or arthritis. Also talk about ways to take medicines that are safe for bones. Discuss ways to protect bones while treating other problems.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight raises the risk of fracture and bone loss.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can reduce bone mass and increase your risks for a broken bone.
- Limit alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use reduces bone mass and increases your risk for broken bones.
Lower Your Risk
Too many of us assume we are not at risk for bone loss or fractures. We believe that if we haven’t had any signs of bone damage, then our bones are strong. Because there are no obvious warning signs, even doctors often miss signs of the problem. Most of us have our blood pressure and cholesterol checked for heart health. Testing bone density is an important way to check for bone health.
Get your bone density tested, it’s very important.
The risk of osteoporosis is highest among women. It is also higher for whites and Asians than other groups. However, it’s important to remember that — the biggest risk is for older men and women of all backgrounds.
Here are some clues that you are at risk:
- Your older relatives have had fractures.
- You have had illnesses or have been on medications that might weaken bones.
- You are underweight.
There are many “red flags” that are signs that you are at risk for weak bones. (See “Are you at risk for weak bones?” checklist.) In addition, for seniors, your calcium and vitamin D intake, level of physical activity, and medications should all be evaluated.