World Osteoporosis Day will take place later this month on Tuesday, October 20th. Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures each year, affecting 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. In recognition of this day, we are sharing the latest research on calcium and bone health as well as 4 tips on how to prevent fractures.
Medical professionals often recommend 1,000 to 1,200 mg calcium supplements to older adults to prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures. The BMJ, previously the British Medical Journal, recently published two studies suggesting that calcium supplements may not be as beneficial to bone health as previously thought.
The first study looked at how calcium intake affects bone mineral density in women and men over 50 and found a 1-2% increase in bone mineral density after one year; after this amount of time the bone mineral density ceased to increase further. The study’s authors say that this minor increase in density is “unlikely to lead to a clinically significant reduction in risk of fracture”.
The researchers then analyzed previous studies looking at the link between calcium intake and risk of fractures. From this, they found a lack of evidence supporting the claim that calcium intake, whether from supplements or dietary sources, is correlated with reduced risk of fractures. The team only found one study supporting the claim, which was outdated (published in 1992) and examined a very specific population of vitamin-D deficient adults.
Studies that conflict with our accepted ways of thinking can be confusing. That said, we’ve put together 4 reliable ways you can prevent a bone fracture:
- Strength and balance exercises will help prevent falls, thereby reducing your risk of fractures. We recommend Tai Chi, which is known for improving balance.
- Eye exams. Annual check-ups with your optometrist will ensure prescription glasses are up-to-date, allowing you to see where you are going and accurately judge distances of objects to help avoid accidents.
- Home safety. Clearing pathways of potential obstacles or installing grab bars can give you additional support and prevent falls.
- Regular check-ups with your physician. Visit your local physician to evaluate your bone health and fracture risk, review your medicines to see if any make you dizzy or sleepy, and ask any questions you may have about supplements or preliminary screenings for osteoporosis. This is your opportunity to be proactive about your bone health – take advantage!
At Home Care Assistance, we take a broader approach to our clients’ health and wellbeing with the Balanced Care Method™, a holistic approach to care based on scientific studies of the longest-living and healthiest people on Earth. The Method focuses on five lifestyle components including a healthy diet, physical and mental stimulation, social ties and a sense of purpose.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a fracture, Home Care Assistance caregivers can help with daily activities of living and more on an hourly or live-in basis. Take the time to heal and regain your independence with professional, qualified and compassionate caregivers. A caregiver can also provide support with mobility to avoid falls that can lead to fractures in the first place. Learn about our hourly home care services today!