Day by Day
Symposium will provide chance to bone up on osteoporosis
By LIZ THOMPSON
August 13, 2018
This Week Community News
As we age, our bodies don’t let us pretend we are teens or young adults anymore. We have more odd aches and pains, and for some of us, just setting out for a walk takes planning, if it can be done at all.
Many of us take our vitamins, eat as healthfully as possible and stay active. After retirement, we have more time for hobbies and special interests that keep us socially involved and physically on the move.
Aches and pains we didn’t have years ago, and the fact we seem to be getting shorter, can be warnings we should not ignore. Osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle, is a condition that can worsen as we age.
“Your bones are in a constant state of renewal – new bone is made and old bone is broken down,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. As people age, bone mass is lost faster than it’s created.”
“A fracture (broken bone) as a child is not uncommon,” says Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center orthopedic surgeon Dr. Carmen Quatman. “Playing hard and taking some risks can sometimes lead to a colorful cast and a few weeks of ‘slowing down’ to recover.
“As an older adult, however, a fracture can result from a low-energy event, take longer to recover from and could be an important sign to recognize for further evaluation on your overall bone health.
“Osteoporosis is often unnoticed and untreated in people over the age of 65 until after a fracture, and even then, many patients are not aware that wrist, shoulder, ankle and hip fractures could be warning signs of osteoporosis.”
By 25, our bone mass and strength is at it optimum level. From there, our bodies begin a slow trend down in size and strength.
“Even though you may not be at your peak bone health, there are still things to do to preserve the bone you have,” Quatman said. “Screening labs such as calcium, Vitamin D levels, and DEXA (bone-density screenings) can be performed to help determine fracture risk and provide data to the patient to encourage bone-health initiatives. Prevention and early intervention of osteoporosis can lead to a significant impact on fracture risks in older adults.”
Preventing the loss of bone is something that begins in our youth. How active we are, our diet, medications we use and lifestyle choices we make throughout our life can affect our bone mass when we are older.
Quatman is working on a study involving falls prevention by studying records from the Upper Arlington Fire Division on the runs it makes that involve accidental falls.
Some medical conditions, such as celiac disease, kidney or liver disease, cancer, lupus, multiple myeloma and rheumatoid arthritis, may cause a higher risk for osteoporosis.
It is more likely in women, especially postmenopausal women and those who are Caucasian or of Asian descent.
There are some things we cannot change, but making healthful lifestyle choices and being aware of prevention and risk factors serve to set us on a path to better health.
Each year, the Upper Arlington Commission on Aging offers a senior symposium for those who want to learn more about topics of interest.
This fifth symposium takes place from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 19 at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, 2300 Lytham Road. (Ohio)
The topic is osteoporosis and bone health. Quatman will speak, along with endocrinologist Dr. Laura Ryan with the Center for Women’s Health at the Ohio State.
Topics include non-pharmacologic treatments, such as healthful diet and weight-bearing exercise, and management of the disease.
There is no cost, but registration is required. Call 614-583-5326 to register no later than Sept. 14.
Education is never a waste of time – especially when it improves our lives.