Osteoporosis Care Management for Older Adults
Osteoporosis Care Management for Older Adults
Osteoporosis is characterized by the weakening of bone tissue, structure, and strength, leading to an increased risk of fractures. The condition is quite common in older adults, given that bones begin to grow frailer as one ages. According to the CDC, 19.6% of women above 50 have osteoporosis at the femur neck, the lumbar spine, or both. And for men above 50, the percentage is at 4.4%. If you or a loved one suffers from osteoporosis, you must manage your health correctly to prevent the condition from worsening. Here’s how you can do just that:
Find the right medical specialist to assist in your osteoporosis management
When managing osteoporosis, you need an expert’s recommendation to ensure that what you’re doing is helping rather than harming your bone health. Your first step, then, is to pay a visit to your primary care clinic. They can conduct diagnostic tests to pinpoint how you can correctly manage your condition. For older patients, it’s recommended that you see an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. These professionals often have a master’s in nursing, and are trained in preventive care as well as evidence-based decision-making. Additionally, their expertise in caring for the aging population allows them to cater to a patient’s age-specific needs. That said, if your condition is serious, your primary carer will connect you to an osteoporosis specialist who can offer more personalized treatment.
There’s a variety of specialty doctors who treat osteoporosis. For instance, you might be referred to a rheumatologist, who specializes in diseases that affect one’s bones, joints, muscles, and tendons. Another option is the orthopedic surgeon, doctors trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions. Meanwhile, senior patients might be referred to a geriatrician. These specialty doctors are knowledgeable about conditions that are common in elderly patients, including osteoporosis. Each doctor will be able to provide expert advice for the management of your condition.
Have a bone-friendly diet
Once you’ve consulted with an osteoporosis specialist, you can start meal planning. Remember: you need to supply your body with the right nutrients to maintain your bone health. In most cases, you’ll want a diet rich in calcium, as it’s an important component of bone tissue. You’ll also need plenty of vitamin D and C, because without these minerals, your body cannot absorb calcium properly.
Some bone-friendly foods include leafy greens, citrus fruits, and fatty fishes. You should also avoid foods that are high in salt, as these cause your body to release calcium. Alcohol and caffeine intake should also be regulated given that they both contribute to bone loss. List down all the bone-friendly dishes you can find and pattern your daily meals around that.
Follow a regular exercise routine
A regular exercise program can help strengthen your bones and muscles, while also improving balance, coordination, and flexibility. This prevents falls and fractures in the future. But take note that these exercises must be designed specifically for bone health. Additionally, consult with your doctor before deciding to try a new exercise routine to be sure that they will be helpful for you.
One possible exercise you can try is foot stomps. This simple exercise challenges your hip bones since you’ll have to exert a moderate amount of force while keeping your balance. Stomp each foot four or five times and make sure you’re close to railing or furniture in case you need to stabilize your balance. Alternatively, you can stand on one leg for about a minute to hone your balancing skills.
Maintain your emotional wellbeing
Lastly, don’t forget to attend to your emotional wellness, because this plays an important role in your overall health. Chinese medicine highlights a connection between one’s emotions and physical health. Specifically, each organ is attached to a particular human emotion and that connection affects both the physical body and the mind. In this case, one must moderate their feelings of fear.
Fear is connected to the kidney, and the kidney is connected to one’s bones. The kidney is also attached to one’s back, knees, the physical matter of the brain, one’s hearing capabilities, and overall sense of energy. Therefore, you must be proactive in your osteoporosis care management, because doing so grants you the confidence to live with the condition. This effectively staves off any fears that could negatively affect your bone health.
Managing one’s osteoporosis is a matter of proper diet, exercise, and a positive mindset. Make sure to stick to the healthy lifestyle, because by doing so, you can improve your bone health and alleviate the symptoms of osteoporosis.
Article written by Alicia Hendricks
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