Osteoporosis, by definition, means porous bones or bones have lost their density or mass. Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because you’re unable to feel bones weakening. Breaking a bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis. Because it is a progressive disease, by the time you notice symptoms, such as a broken bone, the disease is typically already advancing.
Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Spinal vertebral fractures are the most common type of osteoporosis-related fracture, followed by hip fractures, wrist fractures and other types of broken bones. About 80 percent of these fractures occur after relatively minor falls or accidents1.
As you age, your physician may order tests, like a bone density scan, that can identify osteoporosis. Depending on the results, strengthening exercises and/or medications, along with nutritional recommendations, may be called for.
Conditions that may increase the likelihood of osteoporosis include: rheumatoid arthritis (RA); leukemia; some cancers, like breast or prostate; diabetes; premature menopause or liver diseases.
In addition, some long-term use – at high doses – of certain medications may cause an increase in osteoporosis. They include: aluminum-containing antacids; anti-seizure medications; methotrexate or steroids.
What can you do if you have been told you have Osteoporosis?
While people with osteoporosis will need to modify exercises and movements to prevent fractures, there are many exercises that can be done safely. Your physician may order medications or physical therapy for strengthening and to help prevent falls.
Walking is also a great form of physical activity, as long as you take the appropriate measures to avoid falls, such as:
- Don’t walk in bad weather or when visibility is poor
- Wear secured rubber or other non-slip soles
- Take a cane if you need one
- Bring a friend or family member if you can
- Along with focusing on your emotional health, physical activity has many benefits to your bones and good osteoporosis health.
- Good nutrition also helps combat the progression of osteoporosis. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables.
- Good food choices should provide enough of the nutrients you need every day, but if you’re not getting the recommended amount of vitamins from food alone, you may need to complement your diet by taking multivitamins or supplements.
It’s important to get the care and rehabilitation you need in order to prevent future injuries. Care is typically managed in coordination with your primary care physician. But at times, if you are managing osteoporosis with other injuries or illnesses, your care can become complicated.
When you have been hospitalized for complications from diabetes or another condition, you may require additional medication management, nutrition support or therapy. At Kindred, we offer rehabilitation services in many different settings, based on your health status.
Select one of our services below to learn more.
1Clinical Aspects in Osteoporosis by Manoj R Kandoi