Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bones break before the fall.

We frequently hear about elderly falling and breaking bones .  Did you know that sometimes bones will break causing the fall?  Yep, it’s true some of our cherished elderly get osteoporosis so badly that their bones can snap with the weight of their body.

We must continue to move as we get older even if it is uncomfortable on joints.  Walking is not enough to keep bones healthy although it is one of the very best exercises you can do for overall health including bone health.  Experts tell us we must lift even light weights to add pressure to the bones. 

You see, as we get older and frequently more sedentary, we need to create physical stress on bones.  The muscles pull on bones and that stress helps bones to remain strong.  So get a few inexpensive hand weights or a large can of something from your pantry and  lift and curl.  Try some rubber tubing for resistance frequently the bands come with a how to video or booklet to get you started.

How much calcium is enough?  This seems fairly consistent from the web to my physician. 

Adults 19-50 (and men until age 71) should get 1,000 mg per day
Women over age 51 and men over 71 get 1,200 mg per day unless directed by your doctor.

Be sure to include calcium builders in our daily diets these are some of the choices that are highest in calcium

  • Medium Sardines 8                     370mg
  • Salmon 6oz                                  360mg
  • Yogurt 6oz                                     350mg
  • Fortified Orange Juice 1 cup      300mg
  • Medium Dried Figs 10 each       269mg
  • Tofu ½ cup                                     258mg
  • Broccoli 1 cup                               178mg
  • Our Health Co-op Calcium Magnesium Supplement per capsule 300mg

Another frequent factor in the elderly falling is poor vision.  I remember when my Mom got her cataracts corrected she had been complaining about how dingy her sofa had gotten.  Once she got the cataracts corrected she was amazed at how clean it really was.  Eye changes can occur quickly as we age so getting an eye examination each year is very important and supplement with things like lutein, bilberry, and taurine can be very helpful.

I was diagnosed with osteopenia in my late 40’s and have tried to be diligent in my efforts to keep my frame strong.   After two years of working with weights, taking Our Health Co-op calcium, and watching what I eat my efforts paid off by reversing my bone density to better than normal levels.  Start now don’t wait.

God Bless,
Director of Member Services and Smiles
OurHealth Co-op, Inc


  1. Good discussion, particularly on the importance of exercise to stress the bone. But you miss one of the most important factors, one that is easily treatable. Very, and maybe too, briefly:

    As bone ages it becomes weaker, even with no loss of bone mass.
    This is because the crystals grow larger (and hence more brittle) and also microcracks develop. The body defends against this with the bone turnover process, wherein osteoclast cells create pits to remove old bone and osteoblasts then replace these cavities with new bone. A problem with this is that, particularly in spongy bone, the hole created by the osteoclasts will, in a small fraction of cases, break out through another surface, and then the osteoblasts cannot create the supersaturated solution necessary to refill it with new bone, resulting in loss of bone mass as the pit stays empty.

    The rate of the turnover process is slowed by an increase in free estrogen E. At menopause, where E drops and progesterone P drops even more, the turnover rate increases substantially and the rate of loss of bone mass therefore increases. Slowing down this turnover rate will slow the loss in bone mass and preserve bone strength.

    Since many body processes depend on a balance between E and P, the body tries its best at menopause to restore balance between the now lower E and the much lower P. One of its mechanisms is to produce substances which will bind to the free E and render it ineffective (even though it will still show up on a blood test, even if not on a saliva test). An example is SHBG. Most women would have enough E to avoid turnover speedup if it were not for this protective process which renders part of the E bound and therefore ineffective.

    The solution is simple. Achieve hormonal balance not by reducing the E but by increasing the P by supplementing with transdermal P. The minority of women for whom this does not adequately slow turnover can instead add a little E and well as P.

    Stressing the bone remains very important because this causes a little more new bone to be added than the amount of old bone removed by an osteoclast as it created the pit, thus increasing the bone mass.

    Hope I didn't go overboard is condensing this!

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