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A Senior’s Guide to Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment

As we age, our bones naturally lose density and strength, putting us at higher risk for osteoporosis. This condition causes bones to become brittle and fragile, increasing the likelihood of fractures. While osteoporosis is a serious concern for seniors, the good news is there are many steps we can take to prevent and treat it.

A Senior's Guide to Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment

Understanding Your Risk Factors

Several factors can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis:

  • Being female (especially post-menopausal)
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Being thin or having a small frame
  • Smoking or excessive alcohol use
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low calcium and vitamin D intake
  • Taking certain medications like steroids

Talk to your doctor about your individual risk factors so you can develop a personalized prevention plan.

Lifestyle Changes to Strengthen Bones

Making healthy lifestyle choices is one of the best ways to keep your bones strong as you age:

  1. Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Good sources include low-fat dairy, leafy greens, fatty fish, and fortified foods.
  2. Engage in weight-bearing and resistance exercises like walking, dancing, lifting weights, and using resistance bands.
  3. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol intake to no more than 1-2 drinks per day.
  4. Take steps to prevent falls by removing tripping hazards, using assistive devices, and doing balance exercises.

Screening and Diagnosis

Osteoporosis is known as a “silent disease” because there are often no symptoms until a fracture occurs. That’s why screening is so important, especially for women over 65 and men over 70.

The most common test is a DEXA scan which measures bone mineral density. This quick, painless test can detect osteoporosis before a fracture happens. Your doctor may also recommend a FRAX assessment to estimate your 10-year fracture risk.

Treatment Options

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor will likely recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. The BoneCoach osteoporosis treatment guidelines provide a helpful framework:

  • Calcium and vitamin D supplementation
  • Weight-bearing exercise
  • Fall prevention
  • Medications to slow bone loss or stimulate new bone growth (bisphosphonates, hormone therapy, etc.)

Your treatment plan will be tailored to your unique needs based on factors like your age, sex, fracture risk, and any other health conditions.

Common Osteoporosis Medications

Osteoporosis Medications How They Work
Bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Boniva, etc.) Slow bone breakdown
Hormone Therapy Increases estrogen to protect bones
Prolia (denosumab) Slows bone loss
Forteo (teriparatide) Stimulates new bone growth
Evenity (romosozumab) Increases bone formation and density

Conclusion

Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start taking care of your bone health. Partner with your healthcare team to create a plan that will keep your bones strong and reduce your risk of fractures. With the right combination of lifestyle changes, screening, and treatment, osteoporosis doesn’t have to slow you down! This article is designed to be informative and engaging, providing seniors with practical advice on how to manage and prevent osteoporosis. By following these guidelines, seniors can maintain their bone health and enjoy a higher quality of life.

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