The theme of this November’s Osteoporosis Month is Capture the Fracture. Individuals who have experienced a fracture are at greater risk for another fracture. According to Osteoporosis Canada, 1 in 3 hip fracture patients re-fracture within 1 year. Fractures from osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.
Osteoporosis Canada suggests that all individuals over the age of 50 have their height measured accurately by a health care provider once a year to track any height changes. It is normal to lose a little height as we age but too much loss can be a sign of osteoporosis causing bones in your spine to break down. With 66% of bone fractures being painless it may be difficult to realize you have a fracture.
So how can older adults avoid fractures in the first place? Here are some helpful tips from Osteoporosis Canada.
Bones are made up of protein, calcium and other minerals. For good bone health, it is important to get enough protein, calcium and vitamin D as part of a balanced diet.
Ensure that you are eating enough protein by following the Canada’s Food Guide’s recommendation of 2-3 servings of meat or alternatives every day for individuals over 50.
The daily requirement of calcium for older adults 50+ is 1200mg. The Osteoporosis Canada website is a great resource for detailed calcium information which includes a ‘Calculate my Calcium’ and ‘Calcium Recipes’ section.
Osteoporosis Canada warns that it is impossible to get enough vitamin D from foods alone. Therefore, Osteoporosis Canada, “recommends routine vitamin D supplementation for all Canadian adults year round”.
Older adults should exercise to prevent bone loss. Consult with your doctor to design a safe exercise program suited to your needs.
Although no single cause of osteoporosis has been found, smoking and high alcohol intake can negatively affect bone health.
Bone loss can occur without symptoms so osteoporosis is often referred to as the silent thief. With over 80% of all fractures in individuals over 50 years of age caused by osteoporosis it is important to contact your health care provider if you suspect you may be at risk of having osteoporosis.