Osteoporosis: What Seniors Need to Know

Staying Put at Home Tips for Home SafetySeniors are often warned to avoid falls. But why? Why is this demographic so frequently singled out when fall injuries can prove dangerous to anyone at any age?

Osteoporosis. It is this fear that prompts healthcare providers to constantly caution senior patients about fall hazards such as slippery bath tiles and loose rugs. Though many conditions can diminish motor coordination and increase fall risks, osteoporosis can turn a slip and fall accident into a life-threatening event. Understanding this disease, which affects approximately 40 million people in the United States, is the first step in stopping it.

What is osteoporosis?

The National Osteoporosis Foundation calls osteoporosis “a disease of the bones.” Bone is mostly porous tissue; otherwise the skeletal system would be so heavy as to render movement nearly impossible. The spongy nature of bone also allows it to absorb pressure and bend with it. However, a variety of circumstances can lead to excessively porous bone that easily breaks. When the density of the skeletal system becomes severely low, it is termed osteoporosis.

Why is osteoporosis so dangerous for seniors?

Bone reaches peak density in early adulthood. New bone growth then slows, which is why a person is at greater risk for osteoporosis at 75 than 25. Older women in particular suffer a high rate of osteoporosis because their bodies reduce the production of estrogen, a hormone that bolsters bone health. Should a fall occur, a fracture could mean long-term hospitalization and permanent disability, which may prevent many seniors from staying put at home.

How can seniors stop osteoporosis?

Preventing osteoporosis is central to the health of all seniors. To keep bones healthy, dense, and strong, eat a nutrient-rich diet that contains plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Weight-bearing exercise can also protect the skeletal system. Individuals age 50 or older may also want to consult a doctor for a bone density screening. If osteoporosis is found, a physician can begin treatment to stabilize and even reverse this condition.

What is your experience with osteoporosis? If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this disease, what steps have you taken to manage it? Let us know in our comments section.

Bedtime Frustration? Solutions to Common Sleeping Problems

Sleep Aid Staying Put at HomeA good night’s rest. Along with a nutritious diet and regular exercise, plentiful sleep is essential to your health. However, many seniors fail to get the seven to nine hours of rest that the National Institute on Aging recommends. Regardless of age, though, you can enjoy the sleep you deserve. To get better rest, you need to first figure out why you can’t fall or stay asleep.

Bathroom Visits

Are trips to the bathroom keeping you from sleeping through the night? Consider your evening routine. A post-dinner cup of coffee or glass of wine can have a diuretic effect. Even too much water in the hours preceding bedtime can cause disruptive bathroom visits. If drinking habits aren’t to blame, talk to your doctor about your current medications. Many can have the unwanted side effect of extra trips to the bathroom.

Arthritis Pain

It’s no surprise that painful joints could prove a challenge to falling asleep. But you do have options. First, fine-tune your lifestyle habits. Cut out inflammatory foods and maintain your workout schedule, as an antioxidant-rich diet and regular exercise can lessen discomfort. Next, find ways to ease stiff joints, such as soaking in a hydrotherapy tub before bed. Lastly, consult your physician about pain relief aids should your discomfort persist.

Stressful Thoughts

No matter if you’re 17 or 70, anxiety can keep you up at night. But stress doesn’t have to rob you of sleep. Do you worry about your health? Money? Family? Call your doctor, financial advisor or friend. Talking with someone about your worries can ease stress, as can getting proper treatment or creating a budget to address your health or money concerns. To enjoy a good night’s rest, take action as soon as possible to remedy the underlying issue.

How have you overcome your bedtime frustrations? Share your tips for a better night’s sleep in Staying Put at Home’s comments section.

Arthritis Prevention: Why What You Eat Matters

Pain Relief Staying Put at HomeDo you suffer from arthritis pain? If so, you’re not alone. Approximately 40 million people contend with stiff and painful joints, making arthritis the most common cause of disability in the United States. Though a disease currently without a cure, arthritis can yet be a manageable condition. Given the relationship between action and arthritis, many people focus on how their movements can either help or hurt their health. However, to effectively manage arthritis pain, it’s important to evaluate diet as well.

Benefits of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

When it comes to successful arthritis prevention, inflammation control is the name of the game. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage and bone that make up a joint suffer damage from the release of chemicals via the body’s immune system. Years of wear and tear, as well as past joint injuries, can also contribute to joint inflammation and deterioration. The good news is that many types of foods contain antioxidants that counteract the inflammation process. The Arthritis Foundation recommends traditional Mediterranean diet staples—olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh produce—because they contain ample antioxidants.

Drawbacks of Too Much Sugar

So if food can ease arthritis pain, does that mean what you eat can aggravate it as well? In a word, yes. Many food ingredients can spike joint inflammation, and refined sugar is a main offender. To better manage arthritis flare-ups, reduce or cut out more obvious culprits such as cakes, cookies, donuts and most other items you would find in your neighborhood pastry shop. Desserts aren’t the only foods that contain processed sugar, though. Many savory items, including breads and pasta sauces, also have high amounts of this ingredient. Beverages often contain sugar as well. Soda, energy drinks, sweetened tea, flavored coffee and even fruit juice can come loaded with sugar that may trigger arthritis stiffness and pain.

Advantages of Low-Calorie Meals

Being mindful of what you eat can protect your joints in many ways. Your food selections can both alleviate arthritic inflammation and lessen joint trauma, and your calorie intake can directly impact the health of your joints. Arthritis experts caution that excessive weight can place undue pressure on the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and toes. When these joints strain under the force of too much weight, it can lead to cartilage deterioration and bone-on-bone abrasion. While a regular exercise regimen can help to burn off extra calories, a nutritious and low-calorie diet can lower the risk of excessive weight as well.

Have some anti-inflammatory tips or dishes that you would like to share with our readers? Please leave your suggestions in our comments.