Take a Crack at Osteoporosis
by Jose Sonik
The more aggressively you screen for and try to prevent osteoporosis, the lower your risk of a hip fracture is, studies show.
Hip fractures are common in the elderly, especially women, who lose essential calcium during pregnancy and menopause.
Kaiser Southern California has developed a three-step action plan that they say can reduce hip fractures by as much as 25%.
The three steps are as follows:
Bone scans: Kaiser recommends x-ray absotiometry, the best bone density test available. The tests should be taken by all women over 65, all men over 70, everyone on high dosages of medicines that leach calcium from the bones, and anyone over 50 with a history of fragility fractures. These are the high-risk populations, and a scan could catch a weakening bone before it becomes a fracture.
Education and treatment: Learning and teaching about osteoporosis helps people help themselves. The more you know about osteoporosis, the better you can protect yourself from fractures. Kaiser found that patients who understood their treatment opted for more than just drug treatment: they got home safety checks to help prevent falls. Slippery bathtubs, cords across the room, and loose rugs are all tripping hazards that can snap a fragile bone.
Fall Prevention: If you’re at risk for a fall, consider learning fall-reduction techniques, that will lower your risk for a fall. Physical therapy can improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk still further.
Kaiser ran a three-part program with 620,000 patients in Southwestern United States, and found an overall reduction of hip fractures by 35%. Why wait for them to test it in your neighborhood? Start your own three-part program today.