Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by the thinning of bone tissue and the loss of bone density over time. It's a somewhat common ailment that can make the life of a senior much harder than it has to be and can cause minor slips and falls to be devastating. Luckily, there are preventative measures that your loved ones can take to reduce their risk of osteoporosis. Here are five ways you can help.
1. It's vital to get plenty of calcium into your relative's diet. Men and women between ages 18 and 50 should aim to get 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. When a woman turns 50 and a man turns 70, the amount should increase to 1,200 milligrams. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with bones, soy products and calcium-fortified foods like cereal or juice.
2. Vitamin D is also important. It helps the body absorb calcium into the bloodstream and can easily be obtained by minimal sun exposure (about 10 minutes a day) and from your loved one's diet. A good amount to aim for is between 800 – 1,000 international units (IUs) a day. Fortified milk is a good source of vitamin D, as is oily fish. Supplements can also provide the vitamin D that your relative needs.
3. Help your loved one avoid foods and beverages that can deplete his or her calcium levels. This includes excessive alcohol (more than two drinks per day), cola drinks, high levels of protein (more than 50 grams per day for women, 63 grams for men) and excess caffeine (more than three drinks each day).
4. For your relative's routine, make sure to combine weight-bearing exercises with strength training. Strength training moves fortifies the muscles and bones in your loved one's arms and upper spine, while weight-bearing exercises (like walking and stair climbing) affect the bones in the legs, hips and lower spine. Adults should get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
5. Be sure to invest in a medical alarm system from Bay Alarm to protect your relative should he or she experience a fall or an emergency while exercising. With a medical alert, your loved one will be in touch with an emergency response team at the push of a button. Not only will it provide peace of mind knowing it's there, but it will be useful in the event of a medical situation.