We are firm proponents of the belief that it’s never too early (or too late) to protect your bones from an osteoporosis-related fracture. For those who are unfamiliar with the statistics surrounding this silent disease, approximately 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis are women – a stat that it is expected to increase to 64.4 million by 2020.
Even though weak bones may seem like a problem associated with aging, after the age of 30 the bone building balance naturally shifts and more bone is lost than gained. What’s even more alarming? About one-third of all people over the age of 65 will fall each year, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
While many of these falls result broken bones, recent research indicates timely utilization of screening and treatment for osteoporosis following hip fracture is “alarmingly low” among aging Americans (especially American women). For those who have recently suffered from a bone fracture, check out the three actions below that you must take to maintain strong, healthy bones.
1. Schedule a Bone Density Test
The first step in combating osteoporosis is to have a physician conduct a bone density screening. There are two types of bone density tests including the Central DXA and Peripheral Screenings. DXA stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and research shows this test is imperative in diagnosing osteoporosis. For women over the age of 60, a good best practice is to schedule this test around the time of yearly mammograms and pap tests.
Along with the central DXA test, there are also three types of peripheral screenings that measure a person’s bone density in the lower arm, wrist, finger or heel. The types of bone screenings include pDXA (peripheral dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), QUS (quantitative ultrasound) and pQCT (peripheral quantitative computed tomography). Check out this previous blog post to learn more about the upsides and few minor drawbacks to the varying peripheral screenings.
2. Cut Back on Unhealthy Habits
Caffeine, alcohol and smoking are three habits that interfere with maintaining healthy bones. Don’t get us wrong – caffeine does have some health benefits, just not for our bone health. For example, several studies conducted on elderly women have shown that more than 18 ounces of coffee per day can accelerate bone loss by negatively interacting with vitamin D.
Consuming large amounts of alcohol can also cause bone loss by interfering with vitamin D. Upset by this news? Don’t be! Like caffeine, there’s no need to give up alcohol entirely. Remember that moderation is key and women can still enjoy one drink per day, while men can partake in two drinks per day. Last (but not least), multiple studies have shown that smoking decreases bone mass because it prevents the body from effectively absorbing calcium. By being more aware of certain unhealthy habits, it can help decrease your chance of additional fractures down the road.
3. Evaluate Your Home Environment
The third action one should take after suffering from a fracture is to evaluate one’s living conditions. Whether you (or a loved one) are residing in a home, rehabilitation center or a senior living center, any living space should be fall-proofed. Here are several prominently home hazards:
- – Lighting should not be too dim or direct, and light switches should be accessible
– Carpets and rugs should be tacked down
– Chairs need to be stable (without wheels) and have arm rests
– Stairways need handrails and steps should not be slippery
Additionally, many of these home hazards can be inexpensively fixed. Even though six out of every 10 falls happen at home, you can be in control of your surrounding environment. And, for those who have already fall proofed their homes, remember to keep clutter at a minimum at all times.
4. Develop your bones and improve your balance.
This is seems like an overly obvious statement, and begs the following question: How is it possible, especially AFTER a hip fracture? The answer is quite simple, but not largely known. As it turns out, the human body is quite well-equipped to build bone density at any age. The secret ingredient isn’t an ingredient or special health supplement at all. It’s pressure. In fact, it’s a lot of pressure. A study published in 2012 out of Bristol, England, (Deere, Tobias. Multiples of body weight 2012) was the first study ever of its kind. This study found that the legs and hips of the human body require impact level forces of 4.2 multiples of bodyweight in order to trigger health new development in bone tissue. While that’s interesting, it left many to wonder how is it possible for people to safely experience that level of force? The good news is that it’s now quite easy to do, and when done properly, only takes a few minutes just once a week. OsteoStrong uses propriety robotic devices that allow people of all ages to engage in multiples of body impact emulation at levels of 4.2 MOB and even much higher without injury. The results are stunning. A study published in 2015 (Hunte and Jaquish) found that utilizing this principle, OsteoStrong’s robotic musculoskeletal therapy devices were able to help postmenopausal women impose over 9 times MOB once a week for 6 months. The results showed an average bone density increase of 14.7%. That’s more than 10x’s the results of what we see from the studies utilizing bisphosphonate medications and in half the time. It’s safe and effective for people of all ages. Even ones with joint replacements. The exact same therapy has shown promising results in balance improvements as well.
If you’ve recently suffered from a fracture or received an osteoporosis diagnosis, stop by an OsteoStrong location nearest you. Our wellness solution is scientifically shown to dramatically (and painlessly) increase bone density in just a few months. Sessions are non-invasive, do not involve breaking a sweat and take less than 10 minutes each week.