The simple act of aging can have a significant impact on bones and joints. As you age, you may find yourself dealing with either or both of these common orthopedic issues.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a result of cartilage and joints deteriorating with age. The disease mostly affects people 45 and older, and can cause pain and stiffness in hands, hips, knees, shoulders and other areas of the body. In mild cases, treatment for osteoarthritis may involve simply making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and effectively managing stress. In more serious cases, treatment may include medications to reduce inflammation and relive pain, or joint replacement surgery.
Osteoporosis causes aging bones to weaken and become brittle. This can cause bones to break easily, sometimes as a result of simply bending, coughing or sneezing. Consuming enough calcium and vitamin D is important for bone health. The National Osteoporosis Foundation advises people from 19 to 50 years of age to get 1,000 milligrams of calcium and between 400 and 800 international units of vitamin D daily, and those 50 and older to get 1,200 milligrams of calcium and between 800 and 1,000 international units of vitamin D daily. In addition, strength-training and weight-bearing exercises are also important for bone health. Exercises that make the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine bear most of your weight—such as lifting weights and walking—are most beneficial. Treatment for osteoporosis often includes medication to help slow the progression of the disease.
To learn more about orthopedic issues and how you can stay healthy as you age, visit us online at Central Florida Regional Hospital or call our free 24-hour Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-800-445-3392.