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Osteoporosis Prevention in Women

Osteoporosis and low bone density are significant risks for morbidity and mortality in older women. These conditions are characterized by poor bone strength and are associated with an increased risk of fractures from even slightly traumatic events, like falls from standing height or lower. The most common type of fractures resulting from osteoporosis involve the vertebrae. Hip fractures and Colles' fractures are also common.

Prevention Should Begin At An Early Age.

Physicians and physical therapists should counsel their female adolescent patients about good nutrition, specifically taking in adequate amounts of calcium (1,300 mg/day), vitamin C (80 mg/day), vitamin D (5 mcg/day) and vitamin K (60 mcg/day) for optimum bone strength. For women who have difficulty obtaining calcium from foods, a calcium supplement can make up the difference. Today, many foods are fortified with calcium, such as orange juice, cereals and breakfast bars. Vitamin D comes from two sources: through the skin following direct exposure to sunlight and from the diet. Experts recommend a daily intake between 400 and 900 IU per day, which can also be obtained from fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish and liver, as well as multivitamins.

Osteoporosis Prevention Through Exercise

Active women who get more exercise have a lower risk of hip fracture than sedentary women. Numerous animal studies have shown the importance of mechanical loading to the skeleton. Removal of the muscle results in rapid loss of bone, which can be restored by compressive loading. Experiments have shown that absolute bed rest results in rapid skeletal loss. Women who exercise regularly in childhood and adolescence are more likely to reach their peak bone density than those who are inactive. The best exercises for bones involve weight-bearing activity, such as walking, dancing, jogging, stair-climbing, racquet sports and hiking.

Harris & Renshaw Physical Therapy can help reduce the risks of fractures due to osteoporosis through a custom-designed, safe exercise program. For more information, contact us.

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