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May 2011 Newsletter | Fedelta Home Care, Seattle WA

May 03, 2011

May 2011 Newsletter

May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

Did you know that according to a study appearing in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Washington State has an above-average rate of osteoporosis? You might think that this is because Washingtonians get less vitamin D, the “sunlight vitamin,” so important for bone health. This is indeed part of the picture, but many other factors contribute to an individual’s risk.

The Surgeon General emphasizes prevention, starting at an early age. But for the 300,000 people in our state who are already living with bone loss, living safely and independently offers many challenges that are often overcome by our care team. Fedelta’s home care professionals know there are steps seniors can take to manage their osteoporosis as effectively as possible, and to remain safe and independent at home.

In this month’s Live Your Way e-newsletter, we’d like to share some of the latest information about how seniors and their families can take charge of their bone health to ensure the highest possible independence and quality of life.

Steve

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Living With Osteoporosis

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Help keep senior loved ones safe and independent with an effective osteoporosis management program, including medical treatment and bone-healthy lifestyle choices.

Our bones are a living tissue. All through our lives, bone is constantly being replaced by new bone. In young people, the bones become denser and stronger. But as we grow older, bone building no longer keeps up with bone loss. When loss of bone density is so great that bones fracture easily, this can lead to debilitating fractures, pain, spinal problems, loss of independence, and even death.

Osteoporosis is sometimes called “the silent disease.” As it develops, it is often painless, with no obvious symptoms. In many cases, a fracture is the first symptom! This is why a bone mineral density test is recommended for all women over age 65, and for anyone with other risk factors, such as a fracture under the age of 50, a family history of the disease, or being underweight.

For the most part, once bone has been lost, it cannot be replaced. So the goal in treating osteoporosis is to stop further loss of bone, and to prevent fractures. Healthcare providers most often recommend that osteoporosis patients take these steps to protect their bones:

Consume enough calcium. Some good sources of calcium are dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables, dried beans, canned sardines and salmon, sesame seeds, tofu, tortillas and soy flour. The healthcare provider may also recommend calcium and Vitamin D supplements.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight is a major risk factor for osteoporosis. On the other hand, a recent study from Harvard Medical School shows that excess abdominal fat is also detrimental to bone health. Remember that prolonged weight loss diets are dangerous: the dieter may be losing bone right along with the weight.

Get enough exercise—and the right kind. Staying active encourages bone growth and strengthens muscles to protect the bones. Seniors who have osteoporosis should consult their healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program. Certain types of exercises are most beneficial; others may actually be dangerous. A physical therapist can train the patient to use good “body mechanics” during daily activities—even during sleep.

Limit alcohol and tobacco. Both of these substances contribute to weakened bone in several different ways. Drinking too much alcohol also increases the risk of falling and fracturing a bone.

Take medications correctly. Some osteoporosis patients take medication to slow the loss of bone. Other drugs help control pain, or manage healthcare conditions that can make osteoporosis worse. Take these medications exactly as prescribed. Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs can increase fall risk or actually weaken the bones, so have medications reviewed regularly.

Fedelta FiveIn-home care helps keep seniors with osteoporosis safe and independent by providing:

  1. Transportation to healthcare appointments
  2. Bone-healthy meal planning and preparation
  3. Supervision of safe physical activity
  4. Housekeeping, including fall hazard safety check
  5. Medication reminders.

Make Fall Prevention a PriorityMost fractures happen when a senior falls. Reduce the risk by taking these steps.

  • Have regular eye examinations.
  • Ask the healthcare provider about a balance training program.
  • Inspect the home and correct hazardous conditions.
  • Manage medications to avoid dizziness or fatigue.
  • Make sure canes or other assistive devices are properly fitted.