It’s easy to notice and address some of the problems with aging when they are staring you in the face or impacting your daily life in significant ways. Seniors have an increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and leads to fractures. No one can look at their bones to gauge their health; unfortunately, many older Americans ignore warning signs and end up injured. Today, we will talk more about osteoporosis and weakening bones in seniors and how older Americans can fight back to strengthen their bodies and prevent the condition.
Osteoporosis In Seniors
Osteoporosis is a general condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak to the point where small but sudden movements might cause them to fracture. Bones are a constantly changing part of the human body, and osteoporosis hastens when new bone growth is slower than the reduction in bone tissue in the body.
You might currently be living your life unaware that your bones are weakening over time. It can be hard to identify osteoporosis before an injury occurs; often, there are little to no symptoms, and a fracture is the turning point that informs you of the situation. However, there are other symptoms to look out for, which include:
- Back and shoulder pain
- Awkward posture or difficulties maintaining correct posture
- Loss of height or limb length
- Shortness of breath
Both men and women can suffer from osteoporosis, but women are known to have an increased risk. Women’s bodies produce less estrogen following menopause, which in turn reduces the body’s capability to protect against bone tissue loss.
Some other medical conditions and medications might affect your body’s natural bone tissue loss rate. These include:
- Thyroid issues
- Organ transplants
- Hormone replacement treatments
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Medications treating seizures and breast cancer
If it seems like everyone is capable of having bone strength issues at any time, this is mostly true. To prevent an unexpectedly sudden and painful bone fracture, everyone should take proactive steps to increase their bone strength and natural levels of hormones.
Keeping Your Bones Strong
Despite how challenging it can be to know whether your efforts are being rewarded, there are many ways that seniors can improve the strength of their bones to prevent future fractures and breaks.
Diet – Medical professionals stress the importance of calcium as the most effective way to stave off osteoporosis. As we age, we need more calcium per day to maintain healthy levels within the body. For seniors, this amount equates to 1200 milligrams or roughly four whole cups of skim milk. Many seniors find success by incorporating other healthy foods and calcium supplements into their diet. Other high-calcium foods include salmon and other fish, leafy greens like kale, and some fruits.
Calcium is only one-half of the puzzle. Vitamin D is needed for the body to actually absorb and use calcium, so Vitamin D can be considered just as crucial to keeping osteoporosis at bay. Even in healthy individuals, only 500 milligrams of calcium can be absorbed by the body at once.
Exercise – Exercise is another important aspect of a healthy life with healthy bones. Osteoporosis is highly correlated to sedentary lifestyles, and doctors recommend daily exercise, even for adults who have trouble walking or moving. We have previously highlighted exercises that seniors can use, even sitting in a chair at home.
A better diet and increased exercise help more than just your bones – they can help improve your overall health outcomes as well.
A Banyan Residence is an assisted living and memory care center located in Venice, Florida.