A lot of you have probably heard the term, Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is defined as a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of bone tissue. This is a real problem in the elderly. About 20% of women will get Osteoporosis and 50% of all women and men will have Osteopenia, which is a reduction in bone mass. Bones break, especially in the spine and people get smaller and hunched over, organs gets squished, people get weaker, and they feel pain. Vertebral fractures are one of the reasons for chronic pain. You hear about people who fall and fracture their hip. This is a very dangerous situation because hip fractures often precede health complications. 20% of those people having a hip fracture will died in the year following the hip fracture. And 20% of those who survive the year following a hip fracture will be placed in nursing home care. So make sure you clear your hallways, make sure rugs are taped down, wear your glasses if you can’t see, make sure you have good lighting.
In private practice, to access risk for Osteoporosis, this is what I look for and you can look for this too!
1. If you have lost more than 2 centimeters in height over the last 1-3 years
You have shrunk because your bones are thinner2. If you weigh less than 112 lbs
Gravity pulls minerals into your bone, that’s why weight-bearing exercise is so important
3. If there is less than 2 fingers breadth between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone
It means you have shrunk due to thinning bones, or worse, vertebral fractures
4. If you have less than 20 teeth
Remember teeth are bones and teeth are anchored in bone
5. If I make you stand with your heels and back against the wall and it’s hard for you to touch the wall with your occiput (that hard bump at the base of your skull)
A sure sign that your bones aren’t holding you up anymore.
So what can you do?
- Nutrition of course! As I mentioned above: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, boron, vitamin K, vitamin D, and collagen.
- Foods that will help you build bone are: broccoli, kale, spinach, soy, sardines, red kidney beans, and flaxseeds.
- Also weight bearing exercising, which is any exercise actually except swimming when you are suspended. Weights will give you that added edge to building bones.