As we age, it is important for us to maintain strong bones in order to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other associated issues. Every year, almost 1.5 million fractures are a result of osteoporosis which is a condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak. But what is the underlying cause of bone disease and how can you prevent it?
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis generally develops over several years. We also know that the active process of bone turnover where the breakdown of old bone surpasses the development of new bone will result in losses of bone strength and minerals. As we age, cells involved in the resorption of old bone can become slightly unrestrained, and the sense of forces on the skeleton and cells involved in the bone formation lose their vitality. These changes related to old age will ultimately contribute to the occurrence of broken bones as a result of a higher tendency to fall.
Reducing the Risk of Osteoporosis
There are some things that older adults can do daily to reduce the risk of bone loss and disease. You may have already started experiencing bone loss but there are still steps that you can take to retain your bone strength and perhaps reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Here are the steps to follow:
- Consume Dietary Protein: A study has shown that older adults who consume a high level of dietary protein daily are less likely to suffer hip fractures that may require senior care It is recommended for older women to consume at least 46 grams of protein daily and older men to consume 56 grams of protein daily.
- Other Dietary Requirements: There are many factors that can help older adults maintain bone strength which include consuming fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Do note that vitamins and minerals may be important to support bone health but only consuming vitamin D and calcium will not likely reduce the risk of fracture. The best approach is to get a screening test or fracture risk assessment.
- Secondary Prevention of Fractures: This is the core of medical care. Older adults who have suffered a hip fracture before are at very high risk of another fracture within just the first year. Prescription medications are recommended for such individuals.
- Senior Health and Fitness: Exercising regularly and performing weight training can both help minimize bone loss and strengthen muscles. A study has shown that bone mineral density can be improved through the regular practice of Tai Chi which also slows down the turnover of bone. Tai Chi and other senior health and fitness programs are important to prevent fractures, falls, and hospitalizations.
- Senior Lifestyle: Other lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking can also contribute to bone loss. Quitting these bad lifestyle choices can slowly reduce the risk of hip fractures rate.
The key is to remain fit and active at old age and maintain a well-balanced diet. Retaining this combination of choices can help older adults tremendously reduce their risk of osteoporosis.