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8 Bone Health Factors | Comfort Keepers® of Fredericksburg

Jan 6, 2016 by Comfort Keepers of Fredericksburg

8 Factors that Influence Bone Health in Seniors

Your bones are alive — they are living tissue. When we are young and growing, our bodies break down the old bone and replace it with new bone. The Mayo Clinic notes that beginning around age 30, our bone mass stops increasing, and more bone breaks down than is being replaced. For women, bone loss speeds up in the years after menopause, then it slows again, but still progresses. In men, the bone loss happens slowly. The gender bone loss rates eventually even out, and by age 65, most men and women are losing bone at the same pace.

 

Bone health depends on more than just the natural process of growing older. Here are eight factors to keep in mind:

 

  1. The people who came up with the “Got Milk?” ad campaign were right. The amount of calcium in your diet makes a difference. Not enough calcium can lead to lower bone density, early bone loss, and a greater risk of fractures as you age.
  2. Staying physically active is important, too. Studies have shown that inactive adults have a greater risk of osteoporosis than their more-active cohorts.
  3. Both tobacco and alcohol use have been shown to contribute to weak bones.
  4. Gender, size, and age all influence bone health. Women tend to have less bone tissue than men, so the risk is higher for women. Small or extremely thin people also have less bone mass, so as bone begins to deteriorate with age, they have less bone to lose.
  5. Race and genetics also play a role in bone health. If you are of white or Asian descent or have a family history of fractures, you are at greater risk of osteoporosis.
  6. For both women and men, hormone levels – such as overactive thyroid, low estrogen, or low testosterone – can contribute to bone loss.
  7. Eating disorders and medical conditions that impact your body’s ability to absorb calcium increase your risk of osteoporosis.
  8. Long-term use of certain medications can damage bone health.

What is Osteoporosis?

The word "osteoporosis" literally means "porous bone." If bone loss occurs at a high rate, you may be developing osteoporosis, a disease that weakens the bones to the state where they are fragile and break with little trauma to the body. Those with osteoporosis more often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist; however, any bone is susceptible.

 

Osteoporosis is sometimes called a “silent” disease because it develops without symptoms and over a long period of time. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that over 54 million people in the U.S. already have osteoporosis or are at high risk of the disease due to increasing bone loss. Until a fall or strain causes a broken bone, people may not even know they have osteoporosis. These breaks can lead to long-term recovery and sudden disabilities.

Are You at Risk of Bone Loss?

A bone density test can find out your level of bone health. Since osteoporosis is difficult to diagnose until a bone breaks, your doctor may suggest a type of bone density test called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry test (DXA), if you feel you are at risk. The DXA test can provide information to help assess your risk for broken bones, and it may help you and your doctor develop a plan to keep your bones from further damage. Our goal for bone health should be to keep as much bone as possible for the rest of our lives. Take action now to prevent bone loss, and watch for warning signs of a more serious condition.

If you need extra help for your loved one, the team at Comfort Keepers® of Fredericksburg is a trusted local resource — contact us today at (540) 212-9707.

References

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/bone-health/art-20045060

http://nof.org/news/2948

 

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