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How seniors can prevent osteoporosis

November is National Osteoporosis Month. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle to the point where they break easily. Approximately 2.3 million Canadians have osteoporosis, which causes more than 80% of all fractures in seniors.

Some risk factors for osteoporosis include older age, the use of glucocorticoid drugs, medical conditions that inhibit the absorption of nutrients, and having a parent that had a hip fracture. However, no single cause for osteoporosis has been identified.

5 tips that can help seniors prevent the development of osteoporosis

1. Consume the right amount of calcium. The Institute of Medicine recommends that senior women consume 1,200 mg of calcium daily while 1,000 mg of calcium should be consumed by senior males each day. Exceeding this doesn’t provide extra bone protection and can even cause osteoporosis, kidney failure, and high blood pressure.

2. Exercise. It decreases the rate of bone loss, increases bone density, and can reduce falls due to improved balance. Seniors need at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity each week.

3. Ensure you get sufficient Vitamin D. The body requires Vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Some foods rich in Vitamin D include fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, and cereal. Seniors should aim to consume 800 international units (IU) of Vitamin D per day. Supplements can be used to reach this goal.

4. Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption. Both alcohol and caffeine interfere with the absorption of calcium and the production of Vitamin D. Aim for no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and no more than two or three cups of caffeinated beverages daily.

5. Quit smoking. Free radicals from cigarette smoke attack the body’s natural defense system, therefore damaging the body including the bones. Smoking also leads to higher levels of cortisol, which breaks down bones, and lower levels of calcitonin, which builds bones.

Using the Boom Health app, you can book nurse-directed care, Alzheimer’s & dementia care, chronic illness care, and health and home care. Find the app on the App Store and Google Play Store.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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