Most people may have heard about osteoporosis, but don’t regard it as a significant health condition. The reality is that osteoporosis can be severe enough that it can prove fatal for the people who suffer from it. One fall that causes enough damage can lead to complications that you want to help your senior to avoid. Here’s what you and their home care aides need to know about osteoporosis and your senior.
Osteoporosis is an illness that causes bones to become weak and more porous. As the bones weaken, it’s much easier for them to sustain fractures. Often osteoporosis is dismissed as a natural part of aging, but the reality is that it can be slowed or even prevented. Several risk factors can make osteoporosis much more likely for some people, but anyone can find themselves dealing with this health issue.
Osteoporosis Is a Silent Killer
Many people don’t realize that they have osteoporosis at all until they experience a fracture because of a fall that seemed minor at the time. Weak bones don’t necessarily show any symptoms unless your elderly family member happens to fall or otherwise injure herself just enough to break a bone. Typically, people are diagnosed with osteoporosis either after a fall or after routine bone density testing.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
Peak bone loss occurs for most people by their 30s, meaning that their bones do not renew as quickly as in the past. There are lots of risk factors that contribute to osteoporosis, including:
- Family history
- Small body frame
- Thyroid issues
- Dropping levels of sex hormones
- Not getting enough calcium or vitamin D
- History of eating disorders
- Some medications
- Being sedentary
- Overuse of alcohol or tobacco
Just having some or many of these risk factors does not mean that your senior will definitely develop osteoporosis. But it can mean that she is more likely to experience bone weakening and needs to be aware of what’s happening with her bone health.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
The very earliest stages of osteoporosis don’t show any symptoms. But as the bones get weaker, your senior may start to notice that she is experiencing more back pain. She may also start to notice that she’s losing height or developing a hunched back. Of course, the biggest symptom is a bone that breaks extremely easily.
Living Well with Osteoporosis and Help from Home Care Providers
Treating osteoporosis may involve medication and making some lifestyle changes as well. Doing as much as possible to prevent falls is another important step for you to take as your senior’s family caregiver. In-home care providers can be a huge help with this. They can also help your senior to develop daily routines that support the lifestyle changes she’s trying to make. Home care providers are able to keep your senior’s home clean and safe, ensure she’s eating a healthy diet, and keep her company as well.
Home care providers are there to help your senior to be as safe and as happy in her home as possible, which can help her to continue to live in her own home for a long time to come.