BONE PROBLEMS IN ELDERLY – HOW CAN WE PROTECT OURSELVES
From about age 30 to 35, the bone density in men and women begins to diminish. This leads to loss of bone strength. The bones (especially in women after menopause) become more fragile and tend to break easily even at less external pressure or trivial injuries. Let’ discuss on the bone problems that affect the elderly and how to be protected from these.
An adult human body hosts 206 different bones. As the human body grows old, normal growth and development of the bones become slow, thereby making the bones weak and brittle. Weak and brittle bones often trigger severe bone damage and fracture even on a mild fall or injury.
Bones are a living and growing tissue, composed of organic (materials produced by the human body from metabolism) and non-organic components primarily hydroxyapatite, and calcium and phosphate salts). Skeleton serves as a superstructure to the human body. The skeleton also protects our vital organs from trauma and helps in the anchoring of muscles to the bones.
We shall be discussing the various reasons for bone problems in elderly, most common types of bone conditions seen in elderly along with their symptoms, care to be taken to safeguard bone health through dietary intake and alteration of lifestyle.
Causes for Bone Problems in Elderly
Age-related changes in bone
Bone is living tissue as we grow old, the structure and composition of bone changes, and this results in loss of bone tissue. The low bone composition makes bones weaker and places people at risk of breaks from a sudden bump or fall.
Bones become thin as the age increases and some of the factors including:
- Poor eating habits,
- A sedentary lifestyle,
- Hormonal changes for women, menopause occurs, and the estrogen level is dropped that triggers the loss of minerals in bone tissue. In men, the gradual decline in testosterone leads to bone problems,
- Bones gets deprived of calcium and other minerals, and some of the factors that lead to bone loss are:
- Overactive parathyroid gland
- Long-term kidney disease
- Organ transplant
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Steroids and other medications
Most of them use long-term oral or injected corticosteroid medications, such as prednisolone and cortisone, that inhibit the bone-reconstruction process that also leads to osteoporosis.
Some of the common bone problems experienced with advancing age include:
Bone fracture: Elderly individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing bone damage due to trauma or an underlying medical condition or overuse of certain medications.
- Cannot move the affected area
Osteoporosis: It is a common bone condition in elderly observed by fragile and weak bones, which increases the risk of bone damage and bone fractures.
Some of the risk factors of osteoporosis are higher in people who have some medical issues, including:
- Kidney or liver disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Celiac disease
- Multiple myelomas
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Fractured or collapsed vertebra causes Back pain
- Compared to a normal person these patients are more prone to bone fractures
- A bending posture
Osteoarthritis: It is another common condition observed in elderly individuals, where the bones at the end of the joints wear-off and damage, thus causing severe pain and immobility.
The most common symptom of osteoarthritis includes pain in the affected joint. Other osteoarthritis symptoms include:
- Swollen Joints
- Joint Stiffness
- joint creaking
- loss of range of motion.
Rheumatoid arthritis: It is a condition observed by swollen and painful joints of the hands and feet.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include:
- after Inactivity causes Joint stiffness
- Fever, Fatigue, and loss of appetite
- swollen joints, Tender, warm
Paget’s disease: It is the second most common bone disorder in elderly individuals observed by the poor formation of the old bone tissue with new bone tissue.
- Skull: Cause headaches or hearing loss.
- Pelvis: Paget’s disease of the pelvis can cause hip pain.
- Leg: Causing bow legged
- Spine: Nerve roots get compressed If your spine is affected that cause pain, tingling, and numbness in arms or legs.
Adhesive capsulitis is the other name of frozen shoulder in which stiffness you have a pain in your shoulder joint.
Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually and depend upon stages of frozen shoulder. It worsens over time and then resolves, usually within one or three years. It can be seen mostly in older people aged 40 to 70. It may start with prolonged shoulder immobilisation due to surgery or chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. Symptoms depend upon the stages of frozen shoulder.
Seek Treatment Immediately!
Any older adult who fractures or breaks a bone should get to a doctor immediately and see if they have a bone disease. Looking out immediately for bone diseases can decrease the risk of fractures or pain greatly.
Joint pains in the elderly can often become chronic pains. The Joint Pain Management Centre at Premier Hospital, Hyderabad providing effective treatments for pain in older aged.
For further questions, please call our Premier Hospital at 91-77020 01163.
Ways to keep your bones healthy and strong:
The measures that help in maintaining healthy and strong bones include:
Consume plenty of calcium in your diet: Including the required amount of daily calcium intake in your daily diet (for men approx. 1000 mg/day and women approx. 1,200mg/ day).
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a natural vitamin produced by exposure to sunlight at a specified time of the day. Individuals who have very low amounts of vitamin D can maintain a balance by consuming vitamin D supplements prescribed by your doctor or taking foods rich in vitamin D. Doctor will suggest you go for a walk in the early morning time because early morning sun rays are the best source of Vitamin D.
Maintain physical activity: Elderly individuals should consider taking out some time for weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, and climbing of stairs to develop stronger bones. Doing stretching exercises also keeps bones healthy.
If you have concerns regarding the bone problem, visit our hospital, Premier Hospital. At Premier Hospital, we provide you with a diet chart and explain to you everything there is to maintain bones strong.
Things to avoid to maintain healthy bones:
Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption: Individuals who smoke and consume alcohol are at a higher risk of developing weaker bones. Thus, experts suggest limiting the consumption of alcohol and quitting smoking to maintain optimum bone health.
Underlying medical conditions: Individuals with thyroid disorders should consult their doctor to get the thyroid levels checked. Level of thyroid hormones that is too high or too low in the body affect the bones and their development.
Sedentary lifestyle: Active People are at less risk, but people who spend a lot of time sitting without any work have a higher risk of osteoporosis so people should avoid sitting ideal. Any weight-bearing exercise like walking, running, jumping, dancing is very useful activities and should be done that helps balance and good posture that is beneficial for your bones.
Foods that contain a rich source of calcium and vitamin D
- Dairy products including milk and cheese
- Green leafy vegetables including higher amounts of spinach, broccoli, and cabbage
- Fish (Sardines and Pilchards)
- Soya beans
- Bread and fortified flour products
- Fish oils
Other ways to keep your bones protected
Here are few other ways to help you preventing from fractures with fall at an elder age.
- Periodical eye test
- Bone density checkup
- Foot health management
- Adapting to elder age lifestyle
- Avoiding the back pain
- Control the high blood pressure
- Avoid the self-driving for longer distances
- Have a periodical medical checkups
- Use the elderly monitoring mobile apps
Bones can be related to shock absorbers in vehicles. They take in all external trauma and protect the internal organs. The human body provides the essential minerals needed for bone development through metabolism. But, as discussed earlier, as age grows, the body fails to produce the minerals for the bones, which cause the bones to break and wear out.
Almost all problems related to pain has a sudden onset of pain with varying intensity. Many of us delay in consulting an orthopaedic doctor when the primary onset of pain sets in, and feed pain tablet or use sprays to get temporary relief.
Although the body does not enrich the bones with their growth minerals as age grows, we can supplement such minerals with dietary changes, as discussed above. Most important to know that individuals who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, maintain a lifestyle with less-to-no-activity, etc. are subjected to experience ill health of bones.
It is needless to point out that bone exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, dancing, jumping, etc. help in maintaining a proper posture of the body, which in turn keeps all the bones appropriately aligned and decrease the abnormal wearing of the joint surfaces.
Having vitamins, minerals, and doing a physical activity can reduce the bone problems in Old age.
For further questions, please reach us at Premier Hospital 91-77020 01163.
About the Hospital:
Since the inception of Premier Hospital in 1991 till today, we have grown to unprecedented levels, due to our excellence in medical sciences and healthcare. Premier Hospital is the creation of Dr Mahesh Marda and when it was first established, was only a small, 30-bed hospital facility. Back then, we provided only secondary care to patients, but that certainly has changed in the present landscape.
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