Osteoporosis is a Concern for Many Seniors

October 30, 2017

54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) says approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. A fracture sustained in one’s senior years can be life changing.

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder where bone becomes progressively less dense and more brittle leading to fractures. 

Manu,Devarajan, MD_HR2015.jpgWomen with estrogen deficiency and patients taking certain medications (such as steroids like Prednisone for asthma or arthritis) are at greater risk for osteoporosis. Other risk factors include bone fractures after age 50, family history, long-term use of seizure medicine, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet (with low calcium intake) and low body weight. In men, low levels of testosterone (hypogonadism) can lead to osteoporosis

Most people think that this disease impacts only women. However, it occurs in both men and women.  In fact, according to the NOF, men over age 50 have a greater risk of experiencing an osteoporosis-related fracture then developing prostate cancer.

Why is osteoporosis a serious concern for seniors?

It is particularly critical to prevent fractures in the elderly. The impacts of osteoporosis in this population are painful and significant. Bone fractures can cause a loss of mobility and independence. Many seniors who suffer fractures experience a diminished quality of life as well as medical complications that shorten life expectancy.

How can I tell if I have osteoporosis? Are there any symptoms?

Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease” because often there are no symptoms. Typically, this disease is not diagnosed in the elderly until a fracture has occurred. Fortunately, there are tests that measure bone density. Screening is fast and painless. It measures bone mass to determine the patient’s risk of fracture.  Most insurance plans cover bone density screening in postmenopausal women. Screening in men is more controversial but is probably indicated when multiple risk factors are present.

Is there any prevention for this disease?

A lifetime of building a strong skeletal system will help you avoid osteoporosis as you age. Plus these steps recommended by the NOF can enhance bone health:

  1. Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Most experts suggest 1,200 mg of elemental calcium and 400-800 IU of vitamin D.
  2. Regular physical activity has a modest effect in slowing age related loss of bone mass. Weight-bearing aerobic exercise such as walking regularly can maintain bone mass.
  3. Enjoy a healthy lifestyle (one without smoking and excessive alcohol.)
  4. Talk to your doctor about bone health.
  5. Screening and medication if needed. Screening is routinely recommended in women over 65 and in other with increased risk factors.

Where can I get more information about this disease?

If you have concerns about osteoporosis, talk to your health care provider. Bone density screening is offered at most hospitals including Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, and at Cobleskill Regional Hospital, O’Connor Hospital in Delhi and Little Falls Hospital. For more information about this disease, you can also contact the National Osteoporosis Foundation at www.nof.org or by calling 1-800-223-9994.

  • MyHealthy Decisions | Total Ankle Replacement

    Jim Lambert loves to take long walks with his wife, but when pain from an old ankle injury made walking difficult, he started to look at surgical options. Jim's wife showed him an article in MyHealthy Decisions Magazine about the total ankle replacement surgeries that Bassett was doing, and he reread more

    MyHealthy Decisions | Robotic-Assisted Partial Knee Replacement

    James Flannery, of Oneonta, NY, was experiencing knee pain that was holding him back from work and doing the things he loves. After consultation with Dr. Michael Diaz, James opted for robotic-assisted partial knee replacement surgery using A.O. Fox Hospital's state-of-the-art NAVIO system. Watch read more

One Atwell Road Cooperstown, NY 13326

607-547-3456 : 1-800-BASSETT (227-7388)