Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become weak and fragile, leaving those living with the condition at higher risk of fractures which can be painful and a source for short and long-term disability. While osteoporosis affects both men and women, there are specific considerations that each gender group should bear in mind.
As a leading provider of senior home care in Denton County, we wanted to share some information about osteoporosis so that seniors and their caregivers can take the necessary steps to ensure safety and comfort. The more informed you are about this common bone condition, the better chance for helping your loved one stay independent and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Special Considerations for Women
Women are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis and fractures during and after menopause, when decreased estrogen levels can lead to weakening of the bones and increased risk for fracture. Estrogen therapy has proved to be useful for menopause-related osteoporosis but is not appropriate for all women because of the increased risk for heart attacks, strokes and some forms of cancer. Other medications include, but are not limited to:
- Raloxifine – A medication that helps to strengthen bones without affecting the breasts or reproductive organs.
- Calcitonin – Another option to increase bone strength; it is taken as a nasal spray and has been shown to decrease risk of spinal fractures in particular but with no side effects.
Calcium and Vitamin D are also extremely important components for bone health. Women over 50 need 1,200mg of calcium daily. In addition to this, Vitamin D is needed to increase the body’s ability to use calcium effectively. Women between the ages of 51-70 should be on 600 IU’s a day, with the recommendation rising to 800 IU’s a day beginning at age 71.
Special Considerations for Men
Many men are not aware that osteoporosis can affect them as well, but of the approximately 10 million people in the United States who suffer from this condition, 2 million are men. Additionally, 1 in 8 men will experience a fracture related to osteoporosis after age 50. If you are concerned about the safety of an aging parent or loved one at home, be sure to remove trip hazards and make the home as accessible as possible, clearing hallways and unnecessary clutter. You may also want to consider hiring a professional in-home caregiver who can assist with daily activities and personal care, ensuring the safety and comfort of your loved one at all times.
Calcium is just as important for men as it is for women when it comes to bone health, though the requirements are different. Men between the ages of 51 and 70 need 1,000mg daily, with the number rising to 1,2000mg/day at age 71.
These are a lot of things to keep in mind. However, the payoff in stronger bone health, reduction of fractures and the prolonging of your loved one’s independence make the effort more than worthwhile for you both. For more information about senior health and wellness, reach out to the Denton County live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and our friendly Care Managers are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Call 972-468-6010 today.