Taking Steps to Avoid a Fracture

As cooler days remind us that winter snow and ice will be here before long, it’s important to prepare for slippery conditions with fall prevention strategies that include clearing walkways, changing into grippy footwear, and including balance and strength activities as part of a healthy exercise program.  Because at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime, it’s also beneficial to eat a nutritious diet that supports bone health with adequate calcium, Vitamin D, and protein. 

October 20, 2021, is World Osteoporosis Day, and the International Osteoporosis Foundation is working to prevent fractures due to osteoporosis that often lead to a loss of physical function and independence among older adults.   According to the IOF, only 20 percent of patients with osteoporotic fractures are actually diagnosed or treated for the underlying disease.  

Adults over the age of 50 with one or more risk factors including prior bone fractures, low body weight, loss of height, family history of hip fracture, excessive alcohol consumption, or smoking should talk to their doctor about osteoporosis prevention.  You can assess your risk by taking the IOF Osteoporosis Risk Check here

The risk of having a major fracture from osteoporosis in Canada is among the highest in the world.  According to Osteoporosis Canada, each year 30,000 Canadians break their hip and many more suffer osteoporotic fractures of the spine, wrist, shoulder, and pelvis.  Early detection of bone loss is vital to prevent osteoporotic fractures and it’s important to talk with your doctor about risk factors – men and women both begin to lose bone density staring in their mid-30s. 

Learn more about what steps you can take now to help prevent osteoporotic fractures by following this link to Osteoporosis Canada.  The site includes recipes, a calcium calculator, and Too Fit to Fall exercise guides to help get you started building muscle strength, improving posture, and bettering balance to help reduce the risk for falls and fractures. 

You can take steps to counter the risk in your home by picking up throw rugs, tucking cords and cables away, training pets to watch out for you and by proactively wearing hip protectors, particularly if you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Despite what some may think, modern designs of hip protectors for continent community dwellers are unnoticeable under clothing. A broken hip is the fastest way to lose independence so this intervention is worthwhile.