Keeping Your Bones Healthy
As you age, you naturally lose bone density. This weakens your bones and leads to conditions such as osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis causes a loss in bone mass. This means that the bones become brittle and thin. If you have osteoporosis, you are more likely to suffer broken bones, particularly in the hip, spine and wrist.
Who should be concerned about bone health?
Maintaining healthy bones is an important part of midlife care, particularly for women.
Women are 4 times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, and women may lose as much as 20% of their bone mass.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
Osteoporosis does not always have obvious symptoms, and sometimes looks like other bone conditions.
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and review your family history. Other tests they may use to diagnose osteoporosis may include:
- Blood tests to measure your calcium and potassium levels
- Bone density test, which measures if your bones are becoming weaker or thinner
- FRAX score. A score that takes into account your bone density to estimate your risk of breaking a bone within the next ten years.
How is osteoporosis treated?
The best way to treat osteoporosis depends on a variety of factors, including:
- How severe the condition is
- Severity of symptoms
- General health
No matter what the treatment plan, the goals of managing osteoporosis are to minimize further bone loss, decrease pain or discomfort and prevent future broken bones.
What is osteoporosis rehabilitation?
Rehab programs geared toward osteoporosis can maximize your bone health and quality of life, as well as decrease bone loss, minimize pain and discomfort, and prevent broken bones.
Programs may include:
- Education on ways to prevent falls
- Nutritional counseling to ensure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, while also helping you to cut down on caffeine and alcohol
- Assistive devices to make falls in your home less likely
- Methods to help manage your pain Exercise programs and physical therapy to increase physical fitness
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