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5 COMMON BONE DISEASES IN THE ELDERLY

5 COMMON BONE DISEASES IN THE ELDERLY

After the age of 50, the body begins to experience loss of bone, loss of muscle strength, and increased body fat. At this stage, older adults must eat nutrient-rich foods and take supplements to avoid bone diseases. Loss of appetite makes elderly people eat less food. At old age, their body is unable to absorb vital bone nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and iron. More so, many adults are under medications which causes a shortage of nutrients in their bodies. Today, bone diseases are the leading cause of falls and immobility among the elderly. These diseases include fractures, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and bone cancer. Bone diseases can also affect the quality of life of senior adults. Older people who find it difficult to walk are prone to depression and serious health risks. They have to be supervised at all times to avoid danger to their health. This article discusses some of the common bone diseases facing senior adults. It also provides insights into their symptoms and possible treatments. Finally, health tips to prevent age-related weak bone is provided at the end of this article.

Related: What is Glucosamine and What Can it Do For Our Health?

Bone Diseases in Older Adults

OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and making them fragile and more likely to break. People who have osteoporosis face a greater risk for sudden and unexpected bone fractures. This is because their bone is too weak and does not have the strength to absorb impact and shock.

Cause

Normally, losing bone is a natural sign of aging. However, people who have osteoporosis lose bone much faster than normal. This is due to their body's inability to create new bone tissue to replace old ones. Women also face a higher risk of osteoporosis than men. The reason is that women after the of age menopause are likely to lose more bone.

Symptoms

  • Fractures
  • Broken hips
  • Broken wrist
  • Broken spine

Treatment and Prevention

  • Practice regular exercise to strengthen your bones.
  • Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • Take a daily supplement containing Calcium and vitamin D
  • Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.
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PAGET'S DISEASE OF BONE

Paget's disease is a condition that affects the formation of new bones in the body. This condition affects 1 – 5% of persons over 50 years of age. A person with Paget's disease is unable to produce healthy bones to replace old ones.

Cause

Paget's disease is often caused because new bones formed in the body are either too thick, weak, coarse, or oversize. People with weak and deformed bones are likely to experience fractures and osteoarthritis. Paget's disease can also be inherited. People who have a family history of Paget's disease are more likely to develop this condition.

Symptoms

  • Constant bone pain
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Numbness and tingling, or loss of sensation in body parts.

Treatment and Prevention

  • Contact you're a medical practitioner for proper diagnosis. A doctor may recommend bisphosphonate medication to improve bone regeneration.
  • Use of painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen may reduce pain.
  • In severe cases, surgery may be needed to correct deformed bones.

Broken hips

A Hip fracture is a crack or break in any bone around the thigh or hip area. It is usually caused by a fall or an injury to the side of the hip. Bone conditions like osteoporosis and cancer weak bones and make them prone to fractures.

Cause

Sudden Falls to the side of the hip. Osteoporosis – a condition that makes bones weak and fragile.

Symptoms

  • Sharp pain
  • Difficulty lifting, moving, or rotating your leg
  • Difficultly standing or putting weight on your leg
  • Bruising and swelling around your hip
  • Your injured leg appearing shorter than your other leg

Treatment and Prevention

Hip replacement is the only durable solution for Hip fracture. Thus, surgery will be needed to fix the fracture.

OSTEOARTHRITIS

This condition is common in adults aged 45years and older. Osteoarthritis makes joints become painful and stiff. It occurs when there is damage to the protective cartilage around joints. The wearing off of this cartilage makes bones rub against each other, resulting in swelling and stiffness.

Cause

  • Wear and tear of cartilage tissues.
  • Age- overusing your joint for years.
  • Overweight- obesity can put joints under the excess strain.

Symptoms

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swelling and popping sound when moving the affected joints

Treatment and Prevention

  • Practice exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Wear low and safe footwear
  • Eat food rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • Take supplements that support cartilage regeneration, e.g., glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM supplements.

BONE CANCER

Chondrosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that usually affects people over the age of 45. This cancer can affect any bone, especially the long bones of the legs or upper arms. People with Paget's disease of the bone are likely to develop bone cancer.

Cause

As a cancerous condition, it is usually caused by: Exposure to radiation and a defective gene.

Treatment

Surgery is the main treatment of bone cancer. A doctor may examine you to determine the stage of cancer before proceeding with surgical procedures. In some cases, surgery is used to reconstruct or replace the bone; otherwise, amputation may be necessary.

General Health Tips to Prevent Bone Diseases

1.Take recommended doses of calcium supplements (1,000 to 1,500 mg per day)

2.Take Vitamin D supplements (about 400 to 800 IU per day)

3. Taking glucosamine, chondroitin MSM supplements can regenerate joint cells and prevent bone diseases.

4. Go for proper examination if you feel any symptoms in your bone or joint area.

5. Practice regular exercise. (e.g., hiking, dancing, and muscle-strengthening exercises)

6. Avoid habits such as smoking and alcohol intake.

7. If you are above 45 years, avoid sudden falls. Use assistive devices and ensure home safety practices at all times.

Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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