How To Prevent Osteoporotic Fractures?

Osteoporosis is more common a problem than most people realise. Many of us may face it directly or have a relative or friend suffering from it. It literally means "porous bones." The bones become weaker with age, increasing the risk of fractures, especially in the hip, spinal vertebrae, and wrist. As the bones become weaker, there is a higher risk of a fracture from a fall or even a fairly minor knock.

The lifetime risk of sustaining an osteoporotic fracture has been estimated at 50 percent, as compared with 9 percent for breast cancer and 31 percent for coronary artery disease. Osteoporotic fracture is a huge problem in the ever increasing elderly population.


In the early phases of bone loss, there are no such signs. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may experience symptoms that include:

  • Back pain due to fracture or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily

    Look for risk factors: Few medications, such as corticosteroids, can lead to osteoporosis, and even others can increase the risk of falling (antidepressants, anti-hypertensive, anti-convulsants etc). Hence, these should be taken under supervision or after consulting a doctor. Other medical conditions like stroke, hyperthyroidism, poor vision, Parkinson’s disease also increase the risk of falling. Also, any history of previous fractures with trivial falls also increases the risk of future osteoporotic fractures. Don’t let depression linger on. Cortisol, a hormone linked to stress that leeches minerals from bones, is produced by the body as a result of depression.

    Exercises: Weight bearing exercises like walking and yoga not only improve muscle tone which keeps calcium intact but also improve balance thereby preventing falls. High impact exercises like jogging or treadmill and tennis may not be as safe if your bones are quite weak. Choose the right footwear for walking-low heels with rubber soles with right fit will be ideal. Use a walking stick/device if there are any balance issues or arthritis.

    Smoking: Smokers have up to 10% less bone mineral density than nonsmokers among 80-year-olds, which equates to a doubled risk of spinal fractures and a 50% increased risk of hip fracture. Also, fractures heal slower in smokers, and are more apt to heal improperly.

    Alcohol: The use of alcohol is also associated with decreased bone density. Avoid excessive alcohol. Your body cannot adequately absorb calcium if you drink too much alcohol. Men and women should each have two drinks per day, respectively.

    Calcium and Vitamin D: A sufficient calcium intake is crucial since calcium is vital for bones. It is advised that patients consume 1200 mg of calcium in total per day. About 700 mg of calcium are consumed by the average person each day. Consequently, a 500 mg calcium supplement should be added. Dietary sources, such as dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt, green leafy vegetables like kale and broccoli, and fish with soft bones like canned salmon and tuna, are preferred. Vitamin D is essential because it facilitates the body's absorption of calcium. Saltwater fish, liver, and fortified meals are other dietary sources. However, since sunlight exposure produces the majority of vitamin D, regular, moderate sun exposure is advised.

    Evaluation: Osteoporosis can affect both males and females, but it is most likely to occur in women after menopause. Osteoporosis most commonly affects women after 55 years of age and men after their 65years due to lack of hormones which help us to conserve calcium and minerals in bone to keep its architecture strong, so it is recommended to get a screening (DEXA scan) for bones. The patient's bone density is compared to the peak bone density of a younger person using the T-score.

  • -1.0 or above is normal
  • 1.0 to -2.5 indicates a slight reduction of bone mass.
  • -2.5 or below indicates osteoporosis
  • Keep safety at home: It’s very important to keep our immediate surrounding safe.
  • Home should be well illuminated with adequate lights, use nightlights in your bedroom, bathroom and interconnections and stairways.
  • Keep a rubber mat in the washrooms and make sure it is not slippery.
  • Keep room free of clutter.

    If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis on Dexa-scan, do consult your doctor as there are really some good and effective treatments available. It is curable and treatable disease