Lifestyle for maintaining healthy bones should be adopted by the whole family as osteoporosis is an intergenerational disease that concerns the whole family.
Osteoporosis, literally means porous bone in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. It causes bones to become weak and fragile and break easily – even with a bump, a minor fall, a sneeze, or a sudden movement.
Osteoporosis can cause fractures which become major cause of pain and long-term disability and hence dependency on others for one’s own care. It also has emotional impact on the individual suffering from osteoporosis and also the caregiver.
Besides, fractures due to osteoporosis have devastating impact on millions of people worldwide raising socioeconomic costs to healthcare systems and society enormously.
Can we prevent osteoporosis and fractures?
Yes, if early action is taken!
So on this occasion of World Osteoporosis Day (October 20 each year), which aims to raise global awareness for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases, I would like to put up 5 steps to tackle this SILENT DISEASE (osteoporosis) and to call for change..
Here we go..
- REGULAR EXERCISE – must do!
Weight bearing, strength training, and balance training exercises are very effective to keep your bones strong.
While resorting to these exercises, an appropriate guidance is very essential as individual health status is different.
Physiotherapists are trained and qualified to examine you and prescribe you a customised exercise plan precisely for
-prevention of osteoporosis
-recovering from fracture due to osteoporosis
-prevention of another fracture due to osteoporosis
- BONE-HEALTHY NUTRITION
Calcium, vitamin D and protein are very important for bone health. Don’t forget to have enough vitamin D through adequate exposure to sunshine (10 minutes daily with part of your body exposed to sunlight).
Vegan and/lactose intolerant individuals should consider alternatives to dairy products which are source of calcium (E.g. green leafy vegetables, tofu, dried apricots, etc.)
- MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol as these contribute to reduced bone mineral density.
- Reduce caffeine intake as it reduces calcium absorption.
- BE AWARE OF RISK FACTORS
A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease.
Even if you have a risk factor, or even several, it does not mean that you will have osteoporosis. However, more risk factors increase your chance of developing a disease.
Risk factors are – fixed and modifiable.
Individuals can take action to reduce modifiable risks and, though there is no way to control fixed risk factors, there are strategies that can lessen their effect.
Do not forget to discuss these with your doctor and ask for an assessment of your bone health status.
- GET YOURSELF TREATED
Lifestyle changes, appropriate exercise program and medication (for those at high risk) may be prescribed for optimal protection against fractures.
If recovering from a fracture already, contact your physiotherapist to help you recover faster and better, and reduce your dependency due to disability.
Also you will be prescribed an exercise plan to reduce the chances and fear of subsequent fractures.
According to statistics by International Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis accounts for more days in the hospital than breast cancer, heart attack, diabetes & other diseases and hence we should be aware about this SILENT DISEASE! And do not forget to implement these 5 steps for healthy bones and fracture free life!!
Authored by- Dr Rajashree Lad (MPT, CAFST, CFMP, COMT) Consultant Orthopedic Physiotherapist
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