Take Back Your Bone Health and Stop Fractures in Their Tracks
Updated: Dec 28, 2021
Osteoporosis. You have heard this word tossed around before and know it relates to your bones, but you’re not sure exactly what this means and what you are supposed to do about it. While it can be stressful to hear you might be at risk for developing osteoporosis or already be diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are actions you can take to make sure it does not result in future problems.
What is Osteoporosis?
Before we dive into steps you can take, let’s make sure we clearly understand what osteoporosis means and factors that may contribute to causing it. Osteoporosis simply means your bones are weak and brittle, which makes them prone to injury with even simple traumas. Unfortunately, 70% of people over the age of 65 do not even know that they have osteoporosis because they haven’t been screened and you are not typically symptomatic with this condition. If you have not yet been tested for osteoporosis, make sure you discuss getting what is called a DXA scan with your doctor as this test will determine the health of your bones.
So how did you get here and what factors contributed to your developing osteoporosis? There are some factors for which you have no control which include your age, gender, heredity, some medical conditions, and some medications (primarily steroid therapy and estrogen blocking therapy).
Risk of Developing Osteoporosis After Stroke
If you have had a stroke, you are at an even greater risk for developing osteoporosis, especially in your affected or weaker side. After a stroke, it becomes more difficult to bear weight through this side. You also tend to become less mobile after a stroke, which results in even less weight bearing through your affected side.
On a happy note, there are many factors which you can actively change to improve your bone health. Perhaps one of the most important changes you can make is to make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D as these are essential nutrients for building strong bones. It is critical that you get your calcium through whole food sources and not supplements as it is best absorbed in its natural form. You might be asking how does vitamin D come into play? Well without vitamin D, you will not be able to effectively absorb calcium to be able to use it to build strong bones. Making other dietary changes such as limiting alcohol consumption and stopping smoking will also help to improve your bone density.
Another key step to building strong bones is making sure you are regularly participating in high impact exercise. While biking and swimming may be great for your heart, these sorts of non-weight bearing activities will not build strong bones. Your bones need variable and higher impact activities such as dancing, jogging/running, quick paced aerobic classes, climbing stairs, or lifting weights. Some of these activities may not be possible after experiencing a stroke. This is where TRCare can come in to help you develop a weight bearing exercise routine that still allows you to achieve the benefits of exercise for building strong bones. You can find guidance on home therapy exercises that meet your individual needs and that only require the use of your own body weight.
While we know that it can be intimidating to hear that you have osteoporosis, here at TRCare we want to help you make sure that you can successfully manage your osteoporosis. For more information about what you can do to build strong bones and step-by-step video guidance on how to build a home exercise program for you, explore TRCare's online exercise portal today!