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Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease
Management and Prevention
A comprehensive osteoporosis treatment program includes a focus on proper nutrition, exercise, and safety issues to prevent falls that may result in fractures. In addition, your doctor may prescribe a medication to slow or stop bone loss, increase bone density, and reduce fracture risk.
The foods we eat contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients that help keep our bodies healthy. All of these nutrients are needed in balanced proportion. In particular, calcium and vitamin D are needed for strong bones and for your heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly
Exercise is an important component of an osteoporosis prevention and treatment program. Exercise not only improves your bone health, but it increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance, and leads to better overall health. Although exercise is good for someone with osteoporosis, it should not put any sudden or excessive strain on your bones. As extra insurance against fractures, your doctor can recommend specific exercises to strengthen and support your back.
Preventing falls is a special concern for men and women with osteoporosis. Falls can increase the likelihood of fracturing a bone in the hip, wrist, spine, or other part of the skeleton. In addition to the environmental factors listed below, falls can also be caused by impaired vision or balance, chronic diseases that affect mental or physical functioning, and certain medications, such as sedatives and antidepressants. It is important that individuals with osteoporosis be aware of any physical changes that affect their balance or gait, and that they discuss these changes with their health care provider. Here are some tips to help eliminate the environmental factors that lead to falls.
Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors.
Keep floor surfaces smooth but not slippery.
Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes even at home.
Avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers.
Be sure carpets and area rugs have skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor.
Be sure stairwells are well lit and that stairs have handrails on both sides.
Install grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet.
Use a rubber bath mat in shower or tub.
Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries beside your bed.
If using a step stool for hard-to-reach areas, use a sturdy one with a handrail and wide steps.
Add ceiling fixtures to rooms lit by lamps.
Use a cane or walker for added stability.
Wear rubber-soled shoes for traction.
Walk on grass when sidewalks are slippery.
In winter, carry salt or kitty litter to sprinkle on slippery sidewalks.
Be careful on highly polished floors that become slick and dangerous when wet.
Use plastic or carpet runners when possible.
Health Promotion and Chronic Disease
350 Capitol Street, Room 514
Charleston, WV 25301-3715