Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them more fragile, brittle, and prone to being broken.
The bad news is that if left untreated, bone loss can progress for years without causing symptoms until a fracture occurs. As a result, osteoporosis-related fractures can cause pain and impairment.
However, osteoporosis is preventable.
12 Oaks has outlined four ways to help seniors strengthen their bones and prevent osteoporosis.
How Does Osteoporosis Affect Senior Citizens?
Aging and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis develops slowly over time. Although osteoporosis can affect anyone regardless of sex and age, it is most common in senior citizens. Moreover, both men and women may suffer from this illness, but it is particularly common in women.
This condition is frequently identified after a fall or a sudden fracture that breaks their bones. The most prevalent injuries in people with osteoporosis include broken/ fractured wrists, hips, or spines.
A broken bone is frequently the first sign of osteoporosis. However, some elderly persons have a bent forward posture, which occurs when the bones in the spine have cracked, making it difficult to sustain the body’s weight.
How to Keep Bones Strong for Seniors with Osteoporosis
Our parents require adequate calcium to keep their bones healthy. Bone is the primary calcium storage in the body.
However, calcium cannot be naturally produced by the body. The body only obtains this nutrient from food or supplements. A diversified and balanced diet should give your elderly family members the calcium they require. Their bones can become weak or stop growing if they do not obtain enough calcium in their diet.
According to the NHS, adults need 700mg of calcium each day. Calcium-rich foods include milk, cheese, soya beans, tofu, nuts, and certain fish.
Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Therefore, long-term and severe vitamin D deficiency is well-known to cause osteoporosis in adults.
Vitamin D-rich foods include fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, mushrooms, and others. Besides receiving vitamin D, humans get the majority of vitamin D through sun exposure.
Osteoporosis treatment includes halting bone loss and repairing bone to prevent fractures. Exercise regularly can help delay additional bone loss and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Strength training routines should involve using light weights, resistance bands, or your parent’s body weight to strengthen major muscle groups. If they are utilizing a weight machine at a fitness center or gym, advise them to take additional care not to twist or overexert the spine.
Weight-bearing workouts like yoga, tai chi, and even walking can also assist the body resist gravity and accelerate the growth of bone cells.
Gardening is a good idea if your elderly family member is not into typical physical training. Working in the garden is an excellent weight-bearing exercise because it requires walking, kneeling, digging, and pulling. It delivers joy and physical benefits to the body, significantly boosting seniors’ mental health and self-esteem.
Vitamins and Supplements
Various supplements in the market promise to promote bone density. Here are common vitamins and nutrients that should be included in your seniors’ supplements for boosting bone density:
- Calcium. Besides absorbing calcium from diets, supplements are also a great source of this nutrient. Calcium comes in many forms, the most common being calcium carbonate or calcium citrate.
- Vitamin D. NHS recommended that adults need ten micrograms of vitamin D daily. However, the dosage of vitamin D supplements varies. Thus, your present vitamin D levels determine the quantity you require. If your current levels are deficient or you have limited exposure to sunlight, you may need a higher dose.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is also a crucial component of bone strength. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for adults is 400-420 mg daily for men and 310-320 mg for women.
- Vitamin K. According to a review, vitamin K deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures and low bone density. The National Institutes of Health reported that the sufficient consumption for adults over the age of 19 was 90 mcg per day for women and 120 mcg per day for men.
Consuming too much animal protein can lead to decreased calcium in your bone. Moreover, foods high in salt or overly processed can prevent the body from absorbing calcium. Highly caffeinated beverages may do the same. A study from Advances in Nutrition reported that eating less processed meats, soft drinks, fried foods, canned food, and sweets can positively influence bone health.
If your parents have osteoporosis, they should cut down on red meat and eat it in modest amounts.
Besides, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption were identified as osteoporosis risk factors. Tobacco usage has been linked to lower bone density, according to research. Too much alcohol can also disrupt the calcium balance and interferes with the production of hormones that protect the bones.
Therefore, remember to advise your parents to restrict their alcohol use and to quit smoking to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
If your elderly are at high risk for osteoporosis, consult their doctor about diagnosis and treatment options. They may do a bone mineral density test to determine bone density at various locations across the body. This test can detect osteoporosis and the likelihood of fractures before a fracture occurs.
If you have questions about osteoporosis in senior citizens or any conditions discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to book a scheduled personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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