Osteoporosis occurs when the bones become fragile. People with osteoporosis gradually lose their bone density and get fractures more easily.
The disease often has no symptoms, and people with osteoporosis may only find out they have the condition when they get a fracture. In people over 60, more than 80% of fractures are due to osteoporosis. The most common fractures are hip, spine, femur (thighbone), wrist and forearm fractures. After getting a fracture, some people will need a wheelchair or walker to get around, while others may not be able to live alone and will need to be placed in a long-term care facility.
You need to know how to maintain or regain bone health and avoid falls before you break a bone!
People reach their greatest bone density around the age of 30. Due to aging and decreased hormone production, bones start to become weaker around the age of 50. Many factors increase the risk of osteoporosis, and the good news is that you can avoid many of them.
If you have more than 5 of these risk factors, talk to your doctor. After the age of 50, you should have your osteoporosis risk factors checked by your doctor every 2 or 3 years.
If need be, your doctor can have you take a bone mineral density (BMD) test, which assesses bone density and quality. If you test positive for osteoporosis, you should get your BMD tested once a year or every other year to ensure that your osteoporosis treatment is effective.
Osteoporosis is more common in women because their bones are less dense and they experience greater bone loss at menopause. However, men are not immune to this disease and have to take care of their bones too!
By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can avoid modifiable risk factors and keep your bones healthy.
Physical activity promotes good bone density. It also helps prevent falls by strengthening muscles and improving balance and posture. It is recommended that you do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 times a week.
If you need help to quit, ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
To prevent the consequences of decreased bone mass, it’s recommended that you get your daily requirement or more of calcium (1000 mg to 1500 mg) and vitamin D (400 IU to 1000 IU if you are under 50 and 800 IU to 2000 IU if you are over 50).
|Food||Serving||Content in mg of elemental calcium
|Firm cheeses (Cheddar, Gouda, Swiss)
|Soft or semi-soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Camembert, Feta)
|Cottage Cheese (1% or 2%)
|Plain yogurt, 1% or 2%
|Milk (1%, 2%, chocolate)
|Sardines with bones
|Salmon with bones
|Almonds (dry, grilled)
||½ cup (125ml)||186|
|Cooked soy beans
|Tofu (made with calcium sulfate)
|Broccoli (raw or cooked)
Some medications are better absorbed if you take them at least 2 hours after taking dietary calcium or calcium/vitamin D supplements. Check with your pharmacist to find out if this applies to you.
Osteoporosis can’t be cured, but you can strengthen your bones and prevent them from becoming weak. In addition to getting an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D in your diet or with supplements, some medications can be prescribed to prevent bone loss. Bisphosphonates are most often used to treat osteoporosis. They can help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures. Other types of treatment, such as hormone replacement therapy, can be prescribed for women who also have other symptoms of menopause.
Injectable medications are also available that are administered every 6 months or even once a year.
Although osteoporosis symptoms don’t usually include pain, some people may feel pain, for example, in the lower back. This symptom is generally treated with painkillers and rest.
Seniors are particularly prone to osteoporosis-related fractures. Here are some precautions to help you reduce your risk of falling.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.