10 Ways to Lower Bone Fracture Risk

PJ Hamel | Oct 7th 2015 Jul 2nd 2000

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Many fractures in older people – especially in the hip, spine, and wrist – are related to osteoporosis. And fractures aren’t just painful, they can cause you to lose your valuable independence. Here’s how to help prevent and avoid broken bones as you age.

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Get enough calcium and vitamin D

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Calcium and vitamin D work together to help keep aging bones strong. Try to get 1200mg of calcium and 400IU of vitamin D daily, through diet or supplements.

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Lessen sodium intake

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The more sodium in your diet, the more calcium you excrete, the more calcium you need to replace. Keep sodium intake to under 2300 mg daily: the equivalent of about 1 teaspoon of salt.

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Maintain good balance

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Falls are a chief cause of broken bones, and good balance can help prevent falls. Try balance-building exercise classes like yoga and tai chi. Or simply balance on one leg for as long as you can, several times a day.

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Drugs can help

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If you’ve been diagnosed with bone loss, there are many different osteoporosis drugs that may help strengthen your bones and prevent fractures. Ask your doctor which one is right for you.

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Use the handrail on stairs

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Going up and down stairs can be a challenge when eyesight and balance are both failing. Avoid falls – use the handrail, both going up and going down.

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“Fall-proof” your house

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Loose rugs, slippery floors, trailing electrical cords, clutter on the floor – all can cause you to trip and fall. Identify and correct any problem areas around your house.

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Keep exercising

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Exercise is crucial for maintaining strength, balance, and flexibility as you age – don’t become sedentary! Walking is a great place to start; ask your doctor what else is appropriate for you.

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Dress and accessorize to prevent falls

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No, this doesn’t mean wearing body armor! But wear shoes (and slippers) with good-grip soles. And keep your hands free by carrying a shoulder bag or fanny pack, rather than a handbag.

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Pause after standing up

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Certain drugs, as well as low blood pressure, can cause a temporary loss of balance if you stand up quickly. To prevent potential falls, try this: stand, pause, then walk.

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Use nightlights

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Many falls happen at night, when darkness and sleepiness can cause you to trip on furniture you’d avoid during the daytime. Make sure your paths to the bathroom and kitchen are well-lit.

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