Did you know that approximately 53 million people in the United States are living with osteoporosis? Osteoporosis, a condition where bones become thinner, poses a risk for fractures and disability in older adults. Although it's more common in women, men can also be affected. Sometimes, spotting the condition can be tough as symptoms might not be obvious. Yet, osteoporosis is a serious medical issue that demands ongoing care and treatment.
💪 Why Bones Get Thinner 💪
Throughout life, our bodies constantly create and lose bone tissue. In youth, we make more bone tissue than we lose, reaching about 90% of our total bone by age 20. Most people keep building more bone than they lose until around age 30, after which bone loss speeds up.
While we can't regain lost bone, we can support bone health and slow down bone loss. Although osteoporosis isn't curable, you can help your loved one maintain healthier bones by taking a few simple steps.
🥗 Nutrition and Bone Health 🥗
Two key dietary components for better bone health are vitamin D and calcium. Getting enough of both can prevent or slow down bone loss.
Calcium is vital for healthy bone tissue. Women over 50 should aim for 1,200 mg daily, while men over 50 need 1,000 mg (increasing to 1,200 mg after age 70).
Sources of calcium include:
- Canned salmon (with bones)
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Recommended daily allowance is 600 IUs up to age 71, and 800 IUs after 71.
Vitamin D sources:
- Oily fish (tuna, sardines)
- Egg yolks
- Fortified milk and foods
Regular outdoor time can boost vitamin D levels. Supplements might be advised if diet falls short.
🏋️♂️ The Importance of Exercise 🏋️♀️
Exercise strengthens muscles supporting bones, stimulates bone tissue growth, and reduces fall risk and associated fractures. Surprisingly, it can also ease osteoporosis-related pain.
It's never too late to start, but consult a doctor before beginning a new routine. Safety is crucial for those with osteoporosis. Choose exercises that are safe and enjoyable, ensuring consistency.
Recommended exercises include:
- Strength training, especially for the upper back to counter stooped posture
- Weight-bearing aerobic exercise
- Flexibility-enhancing exercises
- Balance and stability exercises
Avoid high-impact exercises that may cause fractures. Opt for controlled, gentle movements that spare bones and joints. Exercises involving bending and twisting aren't recommended, as they could fracture the spine's thin bones.
🔑 More Tips for Osteoporosis Care 🔑
Beyond diet and exercise, consider these tips to support a family member with osteoporosis:
- Encourage quitting smoking, which increases fracture risk.
- Monitor alcohol intake, as excessive consumption can decrease bone density and raise fall risk.
- Mitigate fall risks by making home modifications. Install grab bars and handrails, remove tripping hazards like loose rugs, and declutter living spaces.
Remember, a little care can go a long way in promoting bone health and quality of life. 🦴❤️🏡