More than half of all postmenopausal women will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis at some time. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become brittle, making those with the disease more prone to fractures. Hip fractures, especially, can lead to decreased independence and a lower quality of life.
“Thankfully, you can take action to help prevent this by knowing your risk, getting tested at the right age and taking preventive action,” says Inocencio Cuesta, M.D. “We use a computerized tool, approved by the World Health Organization, to help identify individuals at high risk for osteoporotic fractures.
“Previously, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that all women ages 65 and older get regular screenings, also called bone measurement tests. “But screening guidelines now include postmenopausal women younger than age 65 who have a high risk for bone fractures,” says Dr. Cuesta.
Frequent alcohol use, smoking, a low body mass index and a family history of osteoporosis all increase risk.
Bone measurement tests, such as the quick and painless dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, can predict risk for osteoporosis-related fractures. Studies show that women with a high risk may be able to protect their bone health by getting adequate calcium and vitamin D and performing weight-bearing exercises like walking. Taking prescribed medications may also help.
|Tips to Prevent Falls|
Falls and bone fractures go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re at risk for osteoporosis or not, it’s smart to take these helpful precautions to avoid falls.
fluorescent tape on the edges of the top and bottom steps for visibility and nonslip treads on wood steps.
- Install grab bars beside tubs, showers and toilets
- Install a nightlight along the rout between your bedroom and bathroom.
- Eliminate throw rugs. Secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape or slip-resistant backing.