Healthy bones are an invaluable asset at any age, allowing individuals to move freely, conduct daily tasks at a normal pace, embrace healthy, active lifestyles and avoid pain and discomfort like the ones caused by osteoporosis.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a fairly common medical concern that makes a person’s bones become extremely fragile and brittle as a result of tissue loss, a problem that may be generated by a combination of factors, including vitamin D deficiency, calcium deficiency, and hormonal imbalances.

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Breaking a bone is serious, especially when you’re older, broken bones can cause severe pain that may not go away.

According to the numbers revealed by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 2 women over 50 will be affected by osteoporosis at some point and break at least one bone as a result of this medical condition. In spite of these alarming numbers, the truth is that the most dreaded symptoms and consequences of osteoporosis can be prevented or addressed in an effective manner through a series of measures of precaution, including regular workouts and a healthy diet.  Lifestyle changes are your first line of defense to prevent osteoporosis.  A few of the lifestyle factors that affect bone health include:

Calcium & Vitamin D: Calcium is the building block of bone and Vitamin D helps your body use calcium.  Adults age 50 and older need a total of 1200 mg of calcium and 800-1000 IU of vitamin D every day.

Eating Fruits and Vegetables: Eating a well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, is important for healthy bones.  In addition to calcium and vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K are a few of the many minerals and vitamins that are important for bone health.

Exercise: Certain types of regular exercise can help keep your bones strong.  These include weight-bearing exercises such as fast walking and muscle-strengthening exercises.

Smoking & Alcohol: The chemicals in cigarettes are bad for your bone cells and can make it harder to absorb calcium.  Consuming heavy amounts of alcohol can reduce bone formation and affects the body’s calcium supply.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Osteoporosis Sufferers?

People who are at risk of developing osteoporosis and those whose lives have already been affected by this medical condition may benefit from physical therapy.  Physical therapists are trained experts on preventing and treating osteoporosis.  Physical therapy can help prevent osteoporosis as well as reduce falls and injuries for those diagnosed with the disease.

How Does This Work?

A physical therapist performs an evaluation and creates a personalized therapy plan and exercise program tailored to the age, physical condition and medical history of each patient focused on improving balance, flexibility, strength and coordination.

Therapy goals for preventing and treating osteoporosis include:

  • Maintain or increase bone mass density
  • Improve muscle strength, balance and cardiovascular fitness
  • Improve posture
  • Improve psychological well-being
  • Prevent fractures
  • Reduce falls
  • Provide education

Be good to your bones.  Maintain your strength with exercise and choose daily habits that support keeping your body at optimal health. If you would like more information on living with osteoporosis, go to the National Osteoporosis Foundation www.nof.org or the National Institute of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center for Fast Facts related to osteoporosis. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/osteoporosis_ff.asp

Healthcare Therapy Services, Inc. (HTS) serves senior care communities by providing and managing physical, occupational and speech therapy services.  We specialize in adult rehabilitation, delivering exceptional programs to inspire hope, restore function and renew the spirit for independence and life enrichment.  When deciding on your next therapy provider, take a look at the difference made when using a true partner. HTS is your partner in therapy.  Contact HTS for more information.

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