4 Habits That Can Cause or Worsen Osteoporosis in Seniors
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4 Habits That Can Cause or Worsen Osteoporosis in Seniors

As people age, they become more likely to injure themselves from a simple slip or fall. This is especially true if they've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, a condition that occurs when bone regeneration doesn't keep up with a bone loss.

Osteoporosis is a major concern for mature adults, and their day-to-day habits can negatively affect their bone health. Here are four habits that seniors should consider changing if they're concerned about retaining bone density:

1. Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is one of the most important things a person can do to protect their health, and tobacco use is detrimental to healthy bones in multiple ways. Smoking restricts blood flow to bones, inhibiting their ability to regenerate new tissue. Smoking may also break down estrogen, a hormone that is important to maintaining healthy bones. It also reduces the body's ability to utilize calcium.

Another thing that's important to know about tobacco use: Studies have shown that many smokers also practice other bad lifestyle habits, like those below, which compound bone loss.

2. Heavy alcohol use

Excessive alcohol consumption negatively affects bone health by creating hormone imbalances and elevating cortisol (which affects bone generation and prevention of bone loss). Alcohol abuse can, of course, lead to serious skeletal injuries due to falls and other accidents resulting from coordination and balance issues.

Even casual alcohol use increases the rate by which bone loss occurs: Research indicates that people who only enjoy one or two drinks a day are 1.34 times more likely to develop osteoporosis, and those who drink more than two alcoholic beverages each day are at least 1.63 more likely to lose bone density.

3. Sedentary lifestyle

Strong muscles support bones and improve balance. Resistance training such as weight lifting and push-ups directly strengthen bones, and getting outside for exercise in the sunshine helps the body absorb Vitamin D, which is essential to calcium absorption.

Exercise also helps alleviate depression, and mood disorders can lead to poor lifestyle choices that lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis.

4. Unhealthy eating

Crash dieting and foods low in the following nutrients increase bone loss:  

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

These foods should be consumed in moderation to reduce the risk of osteoporosis:

  • Caffeine
  • High sodium foods
  • Legumes, which contain phytates. Phytates block calcium absorption.
  • Food high in oxalates, such as spinach, soy, and beets, also block calcium absorption.

It's time to fight osteoporosis!

General practitioners will make recommendations on bone density screenings according to their patient's age, lifestyle, and family history. Testing every two years is the standard for women 65 and older, and while men have a lower risk of osteoporosis, it's prudent for them to be tested if they have certain risk factors.

Independent seniors living in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, Auburndale, or Haines City who need a little assistance and motivation to live healthy, vibrant lifestyles might benefit from a home care professional. Contact Senior Helpers® of Polk County today to learn about their care and companion services.