Osteoporosis is a condition that makes bones brittle and weak. They can become so weak that even a minor stressor can cause a fracture. In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation says that osteoporosis is responsible for about 2 million fractures each year. It can be a dangerous and debilitating disease, so trying to prevent it is important. May is National Osteoporosis Prevention Month—a great time to learn more about how you may be able to assist your aging relative to prevent developing the disease.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Although it’s a good idea for all seniors to take steps toward preventing osteoporosis, knowing the risk factors can help you to gauge how likely your aging relative is to get the disease. Some risk factors for osteoporosis are:
- Sex: Women get osteoporosis more often than men.
- Age: The older a person gets, the more likely they are to get osteoporosis.
- Race: Caucasians and people of Asian descent are at higher risk for osteoporosis than other races.
- Family History: People who have had a parent or sibling with osteoporosis are at greater risk. This is especially true if they have had a parent who broke a hip.
- Body Frame: People with smaller frames are more likely to get osteoporosis because they have less bone mass to begin with.
Here’s the good news, the keys to preventing osteoporosis are the same as those for preventing many other diseases. They are diet and exercise.
Eating a diet that is balanced and includes lots of nutritious foods is the foundation to preventing osteoporosis. Specifically, doctors at the Mayo Clinic say that people who want to prevent osteoporosis should include the following elements in their diet:
- Protein: Protein helps to build strong, healthy bones. Most people get enough protein through their diets. However, older adults may not get enough because meats can be hard to chew, or because protein may be hard to digest. Ask a doctor if protein supplementation is appropriate for your aging relative.
- Calcium: Foods that contain lots of protein are low-fat dairy products, soy products, dark green leafy vegetables, canned salmon or sardines, and foods that are fortified with calcium. The doctor may also suggest a calcium supplement.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for helping the body to absorb and use calcium. Often, people can get enough vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. However, if the older adult is housebound or lives in an area that doesn’t get as much sun, a supplement may be necessary.
An elderly care provider can help your aging relative to prevent osteoporosis. Elderly care can ensure that your loved one eats nutritious meals that include protein and calcium. If the doctor suggests that they take supplements, an elderly care provider can remind the senior to take them. An elderly care provider can also help the older adult to be more physically active by going for walks with them and encouraging them to move around more.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care in Cumming, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.