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Preventing Bone Fractures and Spinal Cord Injuries Among the Elderly

Among the elderly, bone fractures and even some spinal cord injuries are often the result of slip and fall accidents. In many cases, these accidents so easily cause injury because the victim’s bones are not in excellent shape. Healthy bones among the elderly do not prevent slip and fall accidents, but healthy bones can prevent serious personal injury in the event of a slip and fall accident.

Osteoporosis is a common condition that contributes to serious injury among the elderly. The disease makes bones thin and therefore more likely to break. For men and women with this condition, even a minor fall can lead to serious fractures. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to help prevent the disease and to strengthen your bones:

1) Eat enough calcium. If you are over age 50, you need 1,200 mg of calcium daily. Dairy products, orange juice, fortified cereals, dark green vegetables, sardines, salmon, soybeans, tofu, and almonds are all very good sources of calcium. If your diet does not include enough calcium, you may also want to speak to your doctor about a calcium supplement.

2) Eat enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important because it assists your body in absorbing calcium. Many younger people get their Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but eating foods rich in vitamin D (such as salmon, herring, and sardines) and taking supplements can be important if you spend much time indoors. If you are between ages 51 to 70, you need at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day. If you are over age 70, you need at least 600 IU daily.

3) Exercise. Half an hour of exercise a day can delay the onset of Osteoporosis and can make your bones stronger.

4) Maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Smoking and drinking can reduce bone density, so you might want to eliminate these bad habits. Being underweight can also cause you to experience more bone fractures and more serious personal injury if you do fall.

If you are worried about your bone health and are fearful of falling, talk to your doctor about getting a bone density test to determine your bone health. After this test, your doctor may recommend treatment or prescription medication to safeguard your bone health.