Osteoporosis makes your bones weak and more likely to break. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is common in older woman. As many as half of all woman and a quarter of men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a silent disease. You might not know you have it until you break a bone. A bone mineral density test is the best way to check your bone health. To keep bones strong, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercise and do not smoke. If needed, medicines can also help.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. Bone is living tissue, which is constantly being absorbed and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone. Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women — especially those who are past menopause — are at highest risk. Medications, dietary supplements and weight-bearing exercise can help strengthen your bones.
Exercise For Osteoporosis
“Aerobic activity as well as strength training — using weight machines, free weights, or elastic bands or just [doing] calisthenics — can increase bone strength and reduce the risk of falling by improving balance and coordination. If you’ve had a major fracture, check with your doctor before doing any exercise. patient with osteoporosis who never exercised in her life, embarked on a gym program, and felt dramatically better after a few years. Patients were much stronger, had better balance, and reduced their number of falls.
Calcium For Bone Strength
Get plenty of calcium, a major building block of bone tissue. “Calcium gives bone its hardness and is very important for bone strength.” Aim for 1,000 milligrams of dietary calcium per day if you’re younger than 50 or a man age 50 to 70. Women age 50 and older and men age 71 and older need a total of 1,200 milligrams daily, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. That translates to three servings of high-calcium foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, or calcium-fortified citrus juice or cereal.
Preventing Falls With Osteoporosis
Go through your home and remove tripping hazards like throw rugs, curtain cords, and electrical wires. Keep hallways and bathrooms well lit, and install safety handles on the bathtub. Ask someone else to retrieve hard-to-reach items. One recent study found that practicing tai chi reduced the risk of falls in older adults by almost half. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should have bone density tests and take bone-building medication.
Treatment Using Bisphosphonates
For both men and women, the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications are bisphosphonates. Examples include:
- Alendronate (Fosamax)
- Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
- Ibandronate (Boniva)
- Zoledronic acid (Reclast, Zometa)
Side effects include nausea, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, and the risk of an inflamed esophagus or esophageal ulcers. Injected forms of bisphosphonates don’t cause stomach upset. And it may be easier to schedule a quarterly or yearly injection than to remember to take a weekly or monthly pill. Long-term bisphosphonate therapy has been linked to a rare problem in which the upper thighbone cracks, but doesn’t usually break completely. Bisphosphonates also have the potential to affect the jawbone. Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a rare condition occurring after a tooth extraction in which a section of jawbone dies and deteriorates.