Osteoporosis is known as the “silent disease.” It often lies undetected until a serious accident brings it out of hiding—such as a minor fall that results in a fracture. According to the executive director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Judith Cranford, “One in two women and one in four men age 50 and older will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture.”
What is Osteoporosis?
Bone is a living tissue in need of oxygen and nutrients in order to stay alive and thrive. These nutrients include minerals such as calcium and phosphorus and vitamin D. When bone is healthy, the body’s balance between making bone and losing it is in balance, but when the body begins to lose more than is deposited, brittle and weak bones become evident.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
There are several diseases that increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. These include: rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, various cancers, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Various medications may leach calcium from bones and ultimately cause bone loss. These include: chemotherapy drugs, antacids, proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and Zoloft, and steroids. Lifestyle choices are also a contributor to the advent of this disease.
How to Help your Parent
If your parent has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are several steps that you, as a family caregiver, providing home health care, can help them take to slow down additional bone loss.
- Diet is critical. A diet high in protein (more than 60g per day) is shown to draw calcium from bones. A diet rich in calcium includes foods such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese as well as green leafy vegetables. Calcium and vitamin D are often added to foods such as cereals, breads, juices and even bottled water. One of the best sources of vitamin D is the sun.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. This should incorporate both weight-bearing exercises such as walking or bicycling as well as strength-training.
- If they haven’t already done so, make an appointment with your parent’s primary health care provider to have a bone mineral density test performed.
- If severe, there are some prescription drugs that actually build bone or slow bone loss. Talk with your parent’s physician and be sure to discuss potential side effects.
- Smoking and drinking more than two alcoholic beverages per day increases your chance of developing osteoporosis.
- Many primary health care providers recommended taking a supplement that consists of 1,200 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily. Talk with your parent’s before starting a supplement program.
- Drugs and supplements can interact.
When acting as a family caregiver, providing home health care, be sure to take time to walk through your parent’s home looking for tripping or slipping hazards such as throw rugs or obstacles in commonly used pathways. Ensure that they have good lighting and consider installing grab bars in appropriate places such as in the shower and by the toilet.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Penfield NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.
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