Falls are a common reason for trips to the emergency room and for hospital stays among older adults. Many of these hospital visits are for fall-related fractures. You can help prevent fractures by maintaining the strength of your bones. Having healthy bones won’t prevent a fall, but if you fall, having healthy bones can prevent hip or other fractures that may lead to a hospital or nursing home stay, disability or even death.
Osteoporosis makes bones thin and more likely to break. It is a major reason for fractures in women past menopause. It also affects older men. If bones are fragile, even a minor fall can cause fractures.
At any age, you can take steps to keep your bones strong. Be sure to consume adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Women over age 50 should consume 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Men between the ages of 51-70 should consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily, and men over 70 should consume 1,200 mg daily. This can be accomplished by eating calcium-rich foods and taking calcium supplements. Low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources, and orange juice and cereals are great ways to start your day with a good dose of calcium.
There are many health benefits to dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, and building up healthy calcium is one of them. There are several things you can do to improve your bone strength, and it all involves what you eat. Did you know sardines, salmon, soybeans and almonds can provide you with calcium you need each day?
Once you have the calcium addressed, consider increasing your amount of vitamin D. This helps your body absorb calcium. Getting sunlight can help. If you can’t get vitamin D this way, try to consume foods high in vitamin D, such as tuna, liver, eggs and fortified milk. Talk to your doctor about how much vitamin D you need. It’s believed that people between 51 and 70 should consume at least 600 units of vitamin D each day, and people over 70 should consume at least 800 units each day.
You’re never too old to improve your bone health. A diet that includes enough calcium and vitamin D and physical activity can help prevent bone loss and fractures. You can also have your bone density tested. Ask your doctor about supplements or other medicines to strengthen your bones if needed.