International Osteoporosis Day!
Osteoporosis in Aging. World Osteoporosis Day is October 20th. How can you join the celebration? Here’re a few suggestions:
Osteoporosis is often called “the silent disease.” Most often by the time people are diagnosed, osteoporosis has well and truly set in without your realizing it.
One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will be affected by osteoporosis in their lifetimes. Modern Americans generally lead a sedentary lifestyle. Studies show women who sit for more than nine hours a day are 50% more likely to have a hip fracture than those who sit for less than six hours a day. Get up and move.
And it is not just our sitting that puts us at risk. Our posture also impacts bone health. We develop poor postures as we hunch over our various computers and screens. People with better posture and balance are less likely to fall. Yoga and other targeted exercises promote good posture. Falling is the major cause of osteoporotic fractures like broken hips. Strength and balance exercises are fall prevention strategies. The folks always said, “It doesn’t get any better sitting still and complaining.”
Visit the International Osteoporosis Foundation website and read up. Your bones will thank you : https://www.iofbonehealth.org
Know your risks
- Advanced age. Those over 65 years of age are at particular risk.
- Gender. Women are at much greater risk than men. Women lose bone density more rapidly than men due to menopause. They also live longer on average so have more time to develop osteoporosis. But men are also at risk. Men are 20% of the osteoporosis patient population.
- Family and personal history. This includes family history of osteoporosis, history of fracture on the mother’s side of the family, and a personal history of any kind of bone fracture as an adult (after age 45).
- Race. Caucasian and Asian women are at increased risk.
- Body type. Small-boned women who weigh less than 127 pounds are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Menstrual history and menopause. Normal menopause alone increases a woman’s risk of osteoporosis. Early menopause or cessation of menstruation before menopause increases the risk even more.
- (Males) Hypogonadism (small gonads, e.g., testosterone deficiency)
- Lifestyle. Lifestyle behaviors that increase osteoporosis risk include: calcium and/or vitamin D deficiency; little or no exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise; alcohol abuse; cigarette smoking.
- Chronic diseases and medications. Certain types of medications can damage bone and lead to what is termed “secondary osteoporosis.” This type of osteoporosis occurs in 20% of women and 40% of men with osteoporosis. Included in this category are certain medications to treat endocrine disorders such as hyperthyroidism, marrow disorders, collagen disorders, gastrointestinal problems and seizure disorders. Long-term use of glucocorticoids (oral steroids) to treat diseases such as asthma or arthritis can be particularly damaging to bone. Given the serious nature of the diseases these medications treat, it is not advisable to alter or stop taking these drugs unless under a physician’s advice.
Osteoporosis In Aging
Never had a bone density test? Take the IOF One-Minute Osteoporosis Risk Test. It will alert you to possible risk factors. Talk to your doctor about your bone health. Your doctor may schedule a bone density assessment to determine your 10-year risk of osteoporotic fracture.
Love your bones by actively participating in keeping them strong
Make necessary lifestyle changes to keep your bones healthy and happy. You need to perform 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times weekly to increase bone mass. What defines a weight bearing exercise?
The key here is weight bearing exercise – which means exercise one performs while on their feet that works the bones and muscles against gravity. Popular forms of weight bearing exercise include:
- Stair climbing
- Certain types of weight lifting/resistance exercises (e.g., squats)
We all need better posture and balance. Developing a strong posture will enhance our bone strength.
Research show for women over 80 years old, an individually tailored exercise regimen that incorporates progressive muscle strengthening, training for balance, and a walking plan, can reduce the overall risk of falling by about 20%, and cut serious injury-sustaining falls by just over 30%7.
The balance aspect of this training is important. A study has revealed patients practicing Tai Chi, a Chinese exercise focused on balance, fall only half as much as their peers. This significant improvement was achieved after only 15 weeks, during which the patients received one Tai Chi lesson per week with an instructor and were asked to practice twice daily for 15 minutes on their own.
Love your bones
Osteoporosis in Aging: Don’t Underestimate the Danger of Osteoporosis