Fractures are a leading cause of hospitalization and loss of independence in seniors. Greater than 50% of women will face fractures in their lifetime. Choosing a healthy lifestyle in early adulthood will build higher bone mass as you age and reduce your risk of falls and fracture.
How can you prevent fractures?
- Exercise to strengthen bones and improve your balance. Weight bearing exercises, such as walking, help to maintain bone density. Balance training can help to reduce your risk of falling and fractures.
- Talk to your doctor about making sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet or with supplements.
- Assess your surroundings – when walking or performing daily activities, make sure your path is clear of hazards you could possibly trip over. Eliminate clutter and keep dark areas well lit. Install handrails and nonskid mats in your bathrooms and throughout your house.
- Have a bone mineral density test performed. Prevention is key!
What are the leading causes of fracture?
- Trauma – a fall from sitting or standing is enough to cause a fracture.
- Osteoporosis – This is a disorder which causes bones to weaken, placing them at higher risk of breaking.
- Overuse- repetitive movements can place more stress on the muscles and cause more force to go through the bones. This can lead to fractures.
Who is most at risk?
- Age: As you get older, your bone density decreases. Poor vision and balance problems as you age can also lead to falls and fractures.
- Women: Women lose bone density at a faster rate than men. The decrease in estrogen after menopause causes a dramatic drop in bone density.
- People with chronic medical conditions: endocrine and intestinal disorders can lead to reduced absorption of vitamin D and calcium.
- Physically inactive individuals: if you don’t participate in regular physical activity, you will have lower bone density and weaker bones
- Smokers: Smoking interferes with bone density growth and maintenance mechanisms in your body.
Call or schedule an appointment to talk with a physical therapist about preventing fractures and decreasing fall risk!