More than half of U.S. adults ages 50 and older have osteoporosis and low bone mass. You may have been asking yourself several questions: What should I do if I have osteoporosis? Can I still exercise? How can I reduce the risk of falls? Can I continue to live independently?
That statistic concerned you, so you visited your medical professional’s office. Sure enough, you were diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia. What should you do now?
Low impact exercises are great for your osteoporosis. For example, dancing, taking walks around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, or riding a stationary bicycle are beneficial. Fortunately, the City of Torrance and Torrance Memorial Hospital also offers exercise classes just for seniors.
Consider participating in:
- Low impact, weight-bearing exercises
- Flexibility exercises
- Stability and balance exercises
- Resistance exercise for muscle-building
If you’re taking private classes or classes with a combination of ages, don’t push yourself into exercises that are risky for weakened bones such as particular yoga poses (e.g., warrior pose or pigeon pose). Avoid deep hip stretches or spine twists.
You may have this condition due to a variety of factors, but one major factor is a life-long calcium deficiency. Your body may get more calcium through eating dark green, leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified foods and beverages, soy, low-fat dairy, and canned salmon. A calcium supplement may be needed if you still aren’t getting enough. Your doctor can help you find the correct dosage since too much calcium may be harmful, too, resulting in kidney stones or an increased risk of heart disease.
The Mayo Clinic also cautions that: “Calcium supplements can interact with many prescription medicines, including antibiotics, bisphosphonates and high blood pressure medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions between calcium supplements and your medications.” Furthermore, the time of day and how you take your supplement (with/without food) depends on exactly what type of calcium supplement you’re taking. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for their expertise.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D can come from your diet. Consuming cod liver oil and certain fish are beneficial.
Sunlight is also helpful, but sunblock will prevent your skin from absorbing Vitamin D. If you’re homebound, it may be too difficult to get outside enough to soak up the sun’s rays. So, ask your physician or pharmacist if you may benefit from taking a supplement.
Tripping and falling can be life-threatening if you have weakened bones. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, “Falls can seriously impact independence, resulting in disability, changes in lifestyle, reduced activity and, as a result, social isolation and death. Hence fall prevention is important. Extrinsic (or environmental) and intrinsic factors cause the majority of falls within the elderly population. Generally, the risk of falling is positively correlated with the number of risk factors.”
Lower your risk of falling:
- Install grab bars in bathrooms.
- Place non-skid mats on the kitchen and bathroom floors and in bathtubs/showers.
- Ensure all stair rails are sturdy and installed properly.
- Remove tripping hazards like cords, furniture that blocks walkways, or rugs that don’t lay completely flat.
Osteoporosis may seem like a frightening part of the aging process. However, it doesn’t have to limit your ability to live independently. Discuss with your medical professional if you’ll benefit from an exercise and/or supplement regimen, because exercising, getting adequate vitamins, and reducing falling risks may be key to living your best life.
And, A Peaceful Way Home Care senior care Palos Verdes, can assist you with medical transportation, housekeeping, medication schedules, and more, all while you remain in the comfort of your South Bay home. Contact us to discuss if our caregivers can help you thrive.