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Apr 08

Be Careful…You’ll Break Your Dang Hip!

I know you don’t want to hear it but, most people will reach their “peak bone mass” between the ages of 25 and 30. That means, by the time we’re having that 40th birthday we’ll slowly begin to lose bone mass.

Men tend to have a higher peak bone mass than women, but both should take steps to reduce the loss over time. As you probably guessed or already know nutrition and exercise are key.

Up until about age 40 your body is continually replacing old bone with fresh bone. This process is called remodeling. After age 40 less of the bone is replaced creating a continually increasing deficit. Getting enough calcium (1,000 mg), Vitamin D (1,000 IU) and exercise every day, are crucial to keeping the bone loss minimal.

How do you get your calcium?
You can take a calcium supplement, but studies show that eating calcium rich foods is more effective.

Calcium Rich Milk

Foods high in Calcium:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard, turnip or mustard greens)
  • Sardines
  • Fortified cereals such as Total, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes (They have a lot of calcium in one serving.)
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Soybeans (Edamame)
  • Fortified soy, almond or coconut milk (Not all alternative milks are a good source of calcium, so it’s best to check the label.)
  • Enriched breads, grains, and waffles

 

The sun is our richest source of vitamin D, but when you’re covered in sunscreen to protect your skin from cancer risks, the vitamin D cannot be absorbed. And if you live in the north where the winter days are short and no one is spending much time out-of-doors, you’re not getting much sun.

Sunshine02-wo

Vitamin D deficiencies are being blamed for bone pain, muscle weakness, brain fog, cancer, depression, osteomalacia (soft bones), cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, infections, cognitive disorders, and/or mortality.

The traditional recommendation is 1,000IU per day, but ask your doctor if you might be a candidate for a higher dosage. The upper limit of that recommendation has recently increased to 4000IU per day.

There are not a whole lot of foods rich in vitamin D, but here are some:

  • Wild-caught fish Salmon and Mackerel
  • Beef or calf liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Canned Tuna and Sardines
  • Mushrooms (especially Shiitake)

There are also foods with fortified sources of vitamin D, but make sure you read the label to be certain what you are purchasing is a fortified product.

  • Milk: whole, nonfat or reduced fat
  • Yogurt
  • Orange Juice
  • Almond Milk
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Fortified tofu
  • Oatmeal
  • Cheese

 

I started taking 2,000IU per day in the fall of 2014. My energy stayed steady and strong through those dark dreary winter months and even though the weather was rough in NJ during February and March, I felt I had less of those the winter “blues” this year than in past years.

Do you have any experience with Vitamin D supplements or deficiency you’d like to share?

 

Last year I worked on a video that focused on Fall Prevention. Some of the statistics really stuck out. Kind of scary. Here is a bit of the video script…

“Each week, more than 30,000 Americans over the age of 65 are seriously injured by falling, and nearly 250 die from their injuries. Of those who do survive, 20-30 percent experience debilitating injuries that affect them the rest of their lives. Fifty-four percent of all fall-related deaths of older people are caused by seniors falling down at home and another 20 percent occur in residential institutions.

The most common serious injury from falling is a hip fracture. More than 24 percent of all people suffering a hip fracture die within a year of falling and another 50 percent never return to their prior level of mobility and independence.”

So here are a few suggestions to keep muscles strong and your home safe.

Yogo and Tai Chi for strength and BalanceIf you don’t have regular exercise routine, start one! Try to find a program that incorporates all aspects of fitness, which include cardio, resistance, balance and flexibility training.

Increasing balance and flexibility as we age is incredibly crucial in preventing falls. Balance and coordination are especially prominent components of Yoga and Tai Chi. Try your local YMCA or health club for classes.

Of course you should check with your healthcare provider before you start any new exercise program especially if you are over fifty or have a chronic condition that may prevent you from certain activities.

 

Upgrade your home’s safety.

Almost half of all falls occur at home and most are preventable.

  • Remove anything that is blocking an area where you walk especially stairs
  • Make sure throw rugs don’t have curled edges. Get rid of them if they do and use double sided tape to keep edges from curling up and becoming a tripping hazard.
  • Keep stuff you use often within reach. Using a ladder, step stool or (heaven forbid) a chair increase the chance of falling.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Consider installing grab bars next to your toilet and in your tub or shower.
  • Make sure all stairways have handrails and sufficient lighting.

 

Be Mindful of Medication Side effects.

Check for Side EffectsAs you age, the same medications you have been taking for years (even OTC meds) may affect you differently. Mixing different drugs can cause dizziness, drowsiness and disorientation. This is especially true when taking flu and cold medicines. Even some herbal supplements and remedies can have side effects.

Check with your doctor when you start any new medicines and make sure to inform him or her about anything you’re taking.

 

Get your Eyes Examined

SpectaclesLastly, and this seems obvious but we get busy, you should have your eyes checked annually. You may have worsening eyesight due to glaucoma or cataracts. This can cause headaches and dizziness that will increase your risk of falling. And hey, if you can’t see something it’s awfully hard to avoid tripping over it!

 

I know there are things I’ve overlooked or just hadn’t thought about. What ideas do you implement in your life to prevent slips and falls?

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