Blog: The Senior's Advocate
Posted on: May 22, 2014
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention month which is why it's only fitting that we explain some common information relating to Osteoporosis that we have gathered.
According to the Surgeon General's 2004 Report "Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General," hip fractures are expected to triple by 2020 for two main reasons. Firstly, because as baby boomers enter into the elder population there will be a surge of older adults, who are at most risk of Osteoporosis. Secondly, up until recent years there has been a lack of focus on bone health preventative care, which has led to a broader population being unaware of their risk for Osteoporosis. Without appropriate testing and access to information for consumers, they were left to only treating the disease instead of attempting to prevent it in the first place.
There are many causes of Osteoporosis, half of which are risk factors that cannot be changed like gender, age, body size, ethnicity and family history. Women are 13% more likely to develop the disease than men, and older adults of both sexes are at much higher risk than younger men and women. Body size can play a big role as well because people with smaller and thinner bodies would be more likely to lose bone density. Caucasian and asian ethnicities are most commonly diagnosed with the disease and genetics play a large role in diagnoses also.
Some other risk factors of Osteoporosis that are variable are low sex hormone levels, low calcium and vitamin D intake, use of certain medications can increase chances, low activity levels, having Anorexia Nervosa disorder, smoking cigarettes and consuming large amounts of alcohol.
So, what can you do to prevent Osteoporosis before it begins?
- Eating right, including consuming enough calcium and vitamin D, is a crucial key to prevention. People over the age of 19 should be consuming at least 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium PER DAY and at least 600 IUs of vitamin D PER DAY. Make sure you get the full amount every day by a nutritious diet or use of supplements.
- Exercising is important for prevention as well. If your body is active and agile during aging you are much less likely to develop Osteoporosis, especially if paired with a lucrative diet.
- If you know you may be at risk for Osteoporosis make sure you have your doctor perform a bone density test to determine your risks and offer advice for further prevention and treatments.
Note: Medicare provides coverage for bone mass measurements for those beneficiaries at risk for Osteoporosis. If you or someone you know is at high risk for the disease, make sure when you're choosing a Medicare plan that you inquire about bone mass measurement testing and other bone loss prevention tests and treatments.