Healthline May - August 2015

Page 17

Tina Pariani MD

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Osteoporotic Fractures

A Common Concern In Aging Women


id you know that an osteoporotic fracture occurs every three seconds, making osteoporosis more common than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancers combined? Did you know that 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men aged over 50? Did you know that over 80% of all fractures in people over 50 years old are caused by osteoporosis? So what exactly is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. Let’s look at each of these factors individually staring with hormonal changes. There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis. After menopause, bone breakdown outpaces the building of new bone and the best way to build that bone back is by performing exercises. When you exercise, you don’t just build muscle and endurance. You also build and maintain the amount and thickness of your bones also known as “bone mass and density.” The 3 types of exercises for osteoporosis are weightbearing exercises, resistance and flexibility. Weight-bearing means your feet and legs support your body’s weight. A few examples of weightbearing exercise for osteoporosis are walking, hiking, dancing and stair climbing. Walking as little as three to five miles a week can help build your bone health.

Resistance means you’re working against the weight of another object. Resistance helps with osteoporosis because it strengthens muscle and builds bone. Studies have shown that resistance exercise increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures. Resistance exercise for osteoporosis includes free weights or weight machines, using resistance bands or performing water exercises. Finally, having flexibility helps prevent injury and examples of flexibility exercises for osteoporosis include regular stretches or exercises like tai chi or yoga. For general health, most experts recommend that everyone get at least half an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise five times a week regardless of the type of activity.

As far as calcium and vitamin D supplementation is concerned, it is best to get calcium from your diet. Dairy products are a rich source of calcium. In general, it is suggested that one get 1200 mg of elemental calcium daily, total diet plus supplement, and 800 international units of vitamin D daily. Some patients require additional vitamin D supplementation based on their vitamin D levels. So make sure to keep your hallways clear and get your DEXA bone scan every 2 years based on your doctor’s recommendation. 

Dr. Parini practices Internal Medicine/ Geriatrics with the St. Luke’s Medical Group– Sugar Land. She is a member of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the American College of Physicians, the Texas Medical Association, and the Harris County Medical Society. She is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Tina Pariani, MD Internal Medicine/ Geriatrics St. Luke’s Medical Group Sugar Land.

May - Aug 2015 HealthLine