|You Can Protect Your Bones|
(photo by morguefile.com)
However, as grim as these statistics sound, there are ways you can reduce the chances that you will fall, suffer a fractured hip, and destroy your health. Below are some simple steps which everyone should take, beginning before they even retire.
How to Prevent Hip Fractures and Broken Bones
1. Request a bone-density test from your doctor. Not only has my doctor ordered these medical tests for me about every five years, I've even had these tests performed at free health clinics at my retirement community and senior center. The test is completely pain free, and it is the best way to find out if you have started to develop osteoporosis.
2. Get exercise. Building up your muscles, improving your balance, and increasing your flexibility are all ways to protect your bones and decrease the likelihood that you will lose your balance and have a hard fall. Weight bearing exercises, such as walking, are also good ways to strengthen you bones.
3. Eat right and take supplements. According to a November, 2011 article in AARP Magazine, in order to stay healthy you should consume at least 46 grams of protein a day, as well as take in 12 mg. of calcium and at least 600 - 800 mg. of Vitamin D. People who do these things are about half as likely to suffer a hip fracture.
4. Have a fall-risk assessment and physical examination. Talk to your doctor about your medications and dizzy spells. Ask him if any of your medications could make your dizzy or create balance problems. Get your eyes checked regularly.
5. Take a hard look at your home. Do you have objects, electrical cords or rugs which could cause you to slip or trip? Is your home well-lit? Do you have grab bars in the shower and bath enclosures? Do you put items such as your shoes away so you do not trip over them after removing them? Setting books, shoes, or other items on the floor in areas where you walk could easily turn a safe area into an unsafe one.
6. Do not take unnecessary risks. Avoid walking on ice or walking up and down stairs without using a handrail. My husband and I recently attended a play, and a woman fell down the stairs as we were leaving. She was not using the handrail. Do not take chances. Fractures can happen to anyone.
Remember: Preventing a broken bone is much easier than healing broken bones.
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Photo credit: morguefile.com