Bone Up on Bone Health


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Osteoporosis is one of the most challenging of senior conditions, many times leading to bone fractures and breaks. Older adults should consult with their doctor to check for warning signs and risk factors. You can have your bones tested and begin to take measures to strengthen them.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. As a result, your bones become weak and may break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from sneezing or bumping into furniture.
If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone actually breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine and wrist. A 2012 surgeon general’s report found that each year, 1.5 million people suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture.
The good news is, both nutrition and exercise have been found to help prevent osteoporosis. Check out the following from the International Osteoporosis Foundation:
• Calcium supplementation has been shown to have a positive effect on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.
• Calcium and vitamin D supplementation reduces rates of bone loss and also fracture rates in older male and female adults, and in seniors. In institutionalized older women, this combined supplementation reduced hip fracture rates.
• Fruit and veggie intake was positively associated with bone density in a study in men and women. The exact components of fruits and vegetables which may confer a benefit to bone are still to be clarified.
• Higher levels of leisure time, sport activity, and household chores and fewer hours of sitting daily were associated with a significantly reduced relative risk for hip fracture.

• Physical activity and fitness reduce risk of osteoporosis and fracture and fall-related injuries.
Not only does exercise strengthen your bones, but it also an important way to prevent falls that can weaken or break bones. Consider an exercise program that improves balance and coordination, such as tai chi or even dancing!
Finally, as a caregiver your own health is so easy to let slide when you are caring for someone else. Keep in mind that for both men and women, bone loss starts in the mid- to late-30s. Take steps now to prevent osteoporosis. Don’t skip your physician’s appointments, eat as healthily as you can and figure out ways to build exercise into your day.
For more information about helping seniors lead more healthy lives, or about caring for yourself while caring for a loved one, please call Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon at (541) 330-6400, or Like us on Facebook. You can also find more information about physical activities for seniors on CaregiverStress.com.


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