When senior women breaks a bone, it is common for them to receive treatment to repair the break or fracture. While this might involve a prolonged hospital stay and sometimes even physical therapy and rehabilitation, a bone density test often is not part of the plan. In fact, only about 17-percent of female senior citizens receive this test following a break. This is concerning because it fails to address a root problem associated with the initial break. The result is often an increased risk for future fractures.
Osteoporosis and Hip Fractures
Any woman who has experienced a recent hip fracture should undergo an osteoporosis screening. The results can make the difference between remaining healthy and experiencing future falls or fractures. Multiple fractures are often responsible for a loss of independence and even repeat hospitalizations, more advanced health concerns or death.
The Advantages of Screenings
Osteoporosis screenings offer many advantages. It is a simple procedure that takes only minutes and can be performed right in your doctor’s office. Valuable information is contained in the results, and they tell your doctor important things like:
- Bone Strength
- Baseline information that helps in developing treatment plans and making medication recommendations
- A comparison of results over time to show the effectiveness of therapy
What to Do After a Diagnosis
If osteoporosis is discovered, there are a number of steps seniors can take to prevent further decline. These bone strengthening strategies include increasing calcium intake through a healthy diet and prescribed supplements and getting more sunshine and adding vitamin D fortified foods or supplements to the diet. In some cases, physicians may also prescribe medications to prevent further bone deterioration and more advanced stages of osteoporosis.
The Importance of Fall Prevention
For most women, especially senior citizens, fractures are often associated with falls. Approximately 1/4th of Americans over the age of 65 fall every year. This is why preventative measures are so important especially for women who are at high risk of osteoporosis. The most effective strategies include:
- Following a safe exercise program that includes things like stretching, walking, swimming or light weight lifting
- Making modifications to the home such as adding grab bars in showers, strategically placing non-slip mats, removing tripping hazards and installing ramps or chair lifts
- Reviewing all prescription and non-prescription medications to consider replacing certain medications or combinations of medications that increase the risk of falls
- Reducing consumption of alcohol and avoiding all tobacco products
- Ensuring seniors have the right level of support in the home from family, friends or professional in home caregivers
Recognizing the danger that osteoporosis presents and taking a proactive approach to addressing it helps keep all women over the age of 65 safe from falls. If you have experienced a fall, get tested for osteoporosis as part of your recovery plan. Take steps to lead a healthier life, and accept help from family, friends or an accredited home care provider like Salus Homecare Orange County. Taking these measures makes aging in place safer and more realistic while also enhancing your quality of life.