Osteoporosis in itself causes more than just broken bones. It causes discomfort, pain, mobility issues and the possible loss of independence. Many older adults with fractures cannot continue to live independently. Many are forced to relocate to assisted living facilties or nursing homes because they cannot take care of their own daily needs.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease because many are unaware they have it until they break a bone or have a BMD screening, bone mineral density. There are three categories of scores from a BMD screening: normal, osteopenia and osteoporosis. Normal meals that bone mass is at a good level. Osteopenia means that your bone density is lower than normal but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis. Everyone begins losing bone mass after age thirty unless precautions are taken. Osteoporosis means that there is bone loss significant enough to necessitate preventative and ongoing care.
The United States Surgeon General reports that half of all women older than fifty will break a bone because of osteoporosis. One in four men will, too. And breaking a bone when you are older is serious. Twenty percent of seniors who break a hip will die within one year. Many of those who survive will need long-term nursing home care. A woman’s risk of osteoporosis is equal to her combined risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.
So, what can you do for your bones? Get enough calcium and vitamin D, do weight bearing and resistance exercises, stop or do not smoke, and drink alcohol in moderation. After fifty years of age, the recommended daily requirement of calcium is 1,200 milligrams. There are two types of calcium supplements calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate contains about forty percent calcium but needs gastric acid from consuming a meal to facilitate absorption into the body. Calcium citrate contains about twenty one percent calcium however it is absorbed without requiring food. Most calcium supplements include vitamin D which supports absorption.
More importantly, vitamin experts state that our bodies can only absorb 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. So if you are taking more than this at once you are not getting the optimum benefit. To get the greatest benefit from calcium supplements, split up the daily requirement of calcium into more than one serving per day. And remember, exercise!
The National Osteoporisis Foundation is an excellent source of preventative information about preventing osteoporisis.