This blog is focusing on one of the most common health problems among my older female clients/patients, Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in women over 50 in the US. A loss of bone density occurs when the body doesn’t form enough new bone or reabsorbs too much old bone or both. This is caused by a lack of calcium and phosphate, two minerals vital to bone formation. Other causes include:
A treatment plan is trying to stop further bone density loss, increase bone density and manage the associated pain. The patient is typically using calcium and vitamin D supplements and medications such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, and Reclast that are designed to increase bone density. In addition patients with low bone densities need to be educated on the importance of impact exercising and be put on an appropriate exercise program
Why is weight bearing and loaded exercising important? Bone is considered a bradytrophic tissue, meaning it has very little or no direct blood supply. It absorbs nutrition like a sponge absorbs water. You squeeze the sponge for maximum absorption. Compressing the bone through weight bearing- and impact exercises accomplishes the same. Studies performed among women with Osteoporosis and Osteopenia showed significant better outcomes in those that were involved in exercise programs involving weight bearing exercises and loading stresses. It needs to be mentioned though that patients with severe Osteoporosis are at a very high risk for hip, wrist and vertebra fractures. High impact exercises have to be avoided at this stage. Exercising under the supervision of an experienced trainer or Physical Therapist is highly recommended.
Exercises I recommend to my patients include but are not limited to: