I have decided that the topic of this blog should be osteoporosis. For one November is Osteoporosis Month. Secondly, after being in practice for 17 years a number of patients who started care with me at the beginning when they were middle aged are now seniors, retiring looking forward to travel, increased leisure time, time for hobbies and continued physical activity. For some however osteoporosis or decreased bone density may limit what they would like to do.
Osteoporosis which often gets mistakenly used interchangeably with osteoarthritis, is most commonly a condition related to aging and most commonly in women, men and those in younger age ranges can also be affected however.
With osteoporosis the amount of bone is diminished, this occurs without any symptoms until a fracture occurs which results in a great deal of pain and disability. If you imagine the inside of your bone looks like a sponge you might use for cleaning, there is a framework of sponge material with a lot of holes. Your bone is obviously a stronger, harder framework than sponge but the appearance is similar, now imagine an osteoporotic bone, there would be less sponge and bigger holes, thus a weaker structure more prone to fracture.
Areas typically fractured are the hips, wrists and mid/upper back. So who’s at risk, women of Caucasian or Asian heritage, slight build, early menopause, diabetics, those on corticosteroid medications for inflammatory lung conditions or bowel conditions. Those are factors that are hard to modify, avoidable risk factors, things that can reduce your bone quantity are things like; smoking, alcohol use, caffeine use, soft drinks and inactivity.
So what can you do? You can’t change being a senior woman of Caucasian ancestry, you can ensure that you have adequate calcium intake ( 1500mg/day), Vitamin D intake 1000-2000iu/d be active performing regular weight bearing activity, walking is great, but don’t forget things like resistance training or weight training and balance exercises like Tai Chi or yoga. Limit falling risks around the home, wear good footwear use walking sticks (like cross country ski poles).
This is all reasonable once you get to be older and at risk, my challenge is not only to my senior patients but also their daughters and granddaughters. Why? Simply the amount of bone you acquire prior to the age of 30 is your peak bone mass, the more you acquire by that age the more you have to lose as you age before you’re at risk. Bank not only your savings for retirement, but your bone. Encourage our younger women to be active and build their bone mass.
www.osteoporosis.ca for more osteoporosis information
www.chiropractic.on.ca for fall prevention strategies