It doesn’t matter how healthy a person is. As they age, joints show changes in the range of motion, partly due to changes in connective tissue. Since the amount of range of motion has a direct effect on the posture and mobility of the body, it can lead to a change in a person’s performance. Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases in the elderly, which affects more than 50% of older adults over 45 years of age.
Bone tissue is constantly broken down and rebuilt so that cells produce new bone tissue and break down old cells into it. As age increases, the production of new cells decreases compared to the process of tissue decomposition. The internal structure of the bones is like a honeycomb and is full of tiny holes. When decomposing old tissues are disturbed, the small holes inside the bone tissue begin to enlarge, and the outer layer of the bone becomes thin. Thus the bone density decreases, and in this case, the complication of osteoporosis occurs.
Osteoporosis in the elderly brings many complications and problems, and bone fracture, especially in the hip area, is one of the most common complications of this condition. This disease causes many disabilities and dependencies for the aged. Since osteoporosis is a silent disease, its complications will be much more severe. For this reason, many people are unaware of this problem and are exposed to fractures without knowing about it.
The most critical causes of osteoporosis in the elderly
As mentioned, osteoporosis in the elderly or osteoporosis causes the bones to lose their minerals and become very brittle and fragile. But it is inevitable that the bone does not break all at once and by itself, but some factors and disorders increase the possibility of weakening the bone:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Low calcium diet
- Not having enough movement and not exercising
- A disease that causes chronic inflammation in the body, such as liver disorders and rheumatoid arthritis
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Menopausal women, due to the low level of estrogen hormone in them
- Men whose testosterone levels are deficient
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Weak people and those with small and weak bones
Difference between bone density in a healthy person and a person with osteoporosis
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis in the elderly?
Osteoporosis is a silent disease; most of the time, it has no pain or symptoms. Hence it is known as silent paralysis disease. But if symptoms accompany it, it appears with the following characteristics:
- The onset of joint pain and back pain
- Disturbance in moving and sitting and standing
- Shortening the patient’s height
- Sudden and severe pain in the spine
- Humpback spine
Specialists use bone density tests to diagnose osteoporosis. DXA test is the most commonly used X-ray test to diagnose osteoporosis.
Since the symptoms of osteoporosis are entirely hidden, we recommend a bone density test to all women over 65 and all men at high risk of developing osteoporosis.
How to have strong bones after the age of 60?
Bone is a living tissue; over time, the body breaks down old bones and replaces them with new tissue to keep them strong. This process stops at the age of 30, and from this age onwards, you should do all you can to keep your bones as healthy as possible. Typically, your bones get weaker with each passing year.
From age 40 or 50 onwards, the bones are broken and separated from their original place more than they are built. Walking, tennis, dancing, eating calcium-rich foods and supplements, and getting vitamin D are among the most important things that protect your body from osteoporosis.
The best methods of treating osteoporosis in the elderly
So far, no definitive treatment has been determined for osteoporosis. Therefore, all doctors emphasize the prevention of this disease. But if the work is over and you realize that you have this problem, there is no need to worry. It is not too late to prevent the situation from worsening. Because the bone can still regenerate, you can reduce your pain and prevent the condition from worsening with the help of some treatment methods.
Pharmacological treatment of osteoporosis in the elderly
The most common drugs prescribed to treat osteoporosis in the elderly are:
- Bisphosphonates (the primary drugs used to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women)
- Estrogen and estrogen receptor modulators to balance estrogen in postmenopausal women
- Teriparatide (a synthetic hormone similar to the body’s natural hormone that increases bone density.)
- Calcitonin (a synthetic hormone similar to calcitonin that increases bone density and is mainly used to treat sudden pain from spinal fractures.)
- Denosumab (slows the process of losing bone strength and thus increases bone density.)
Treatment of osteoporosis in the elderly without the use of drugs
Rehabilitation and physiotherapy of the elderly with osteoporosis
Since people with osteoporosis are always vulnerable to weakness and disability, they can prevent this complication with the help of different techniques to deal with osteoporosis:
- The correct way to position the body in different positions
- Relieving the pain caused by osteoporosis with the help of various physiotherapy techniques
- Preventing the reduction of bone density and the occurrence of fractures in the future
All these physiotherapy programs relieve the pain caused by osteoporosis and delay the complications of osteoporosis. The activities offered in physiotherapy sessions for the treatment of osteoporosis include:
- Ozone therapy (Ozone therapy helps to bring enough oxygen to body tissues and bones so that oxygen can regenerate itself more quickly.)
- Magnet therapy (magnet therapy is a safe and low-complication treatment method that uses magnetic energy to reduce pain and repair body injuries.)
- Exercise therapy (exercise and stretching exercises, under the supervision of a physiotherapist, play an essential role in maintaining bone density and preventing the worsening of disease conditions.)
- Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in the elderly by doing sports
Treatment of osteoporosis with exercise
Exercising and performing special sports exercises are crucial in preventing bone loss. Aerobic activity with low intensity and walking at a moderate speed is one of the best exercises and sports to avoid osteoporosis, effectively reducing osteoporosis. Exercises to treat osteoporosis include:
- Exercise with elastic bands
- Balance exercises such as yoga
- Correct training to standing correctly
- Proper exercise to walk correctly
- Chest stretching movement
- Stretching movement to strengthen thigh muscles
- Treatment of osteoporosis by lifestyle modification
In most cases, by following some simple tips and making changes in your lifestyle, you can prevent the severity of this disease and premature osteoporosis and relieve the symptoms of the disease. The things that you can do to ease the pain caused by osteoporosis in the elderly and prevent fractures include:
- Consuming foods containing calcium
- Eating foods containing vitamin D
- Quitting smoking and reducing the consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Avoid tripping and falling by following safety tips
- Avoiding inactivity and having regular physical activity such as walking and doing some simple stretching movements.