Common Orthopaedic Ailments and Preventive Steps for Elderly People
Updated: Mar 23, 2021
As of 2019, almost 6.38% of India’s population is elderly citizens above 65. It is a massive number when taken into consideration India’s mammoth population count. The rapidly rising numbers of older people mean higher cases of orthopaedic injuries.
During childhood and most of adolescence, bone density and bone growth show an upward moving graph. While girls reach their maximum bone density by 18, boys reach this stage at 20. One must maintain their bone density throughout their adulthood to minimise bone injuries. Visiting orthopaedic doctors at regular intervals for consultancy is very important to stay educated regarding your bone health.
Here is a list of some of the most common bone disorders elderly people are prone to:
Fractures are one of the most common bone injuries across all ages. However, among the elderly, broken bones are a serious concern. It is primarily because of lower bone density with rising age. Decreased bone mineral density means more brittle and weak bones. When it is combined with the poor vision and wobbly body balance of the elderly, it is a perfect recipe for bone injuries. With rising life expectancy the fractures in the elderly namely the hip/shoulder & wrist is a household problem along with a huge socio-economic burden. Preventing falls & keeping the bones strong is the key to tide over this burning issue.
Almost one in every three adults suffer from osteoarthritis. It is a degenerative disease that affects the hands, fingers, ankles, knees, and spine. Osteoarthritis patients find it difficult to complete daily chores, especially activities that require flexibility, dexterity, and significant movements. Sadly there is no cure for this particular bone malfunction. However, regular physiotherapy can help in decreasing pain and increasing the range of motion.
Irrespective of gender, bone mass reaches its peak by the age of 30. Post 30, bone mineral density gradually decreases, risking older people with osteoporosis. It is caused due to lower bone mass and bone density. Our body is in a constant process of building new bones and eliminating older bone tissues. Osteoporosis is a common disease when bone production cannot keep up with bone loss. This causes weaker and brittle bones increasing the chances of bone-related injuries.
These are just some of the numerous bone problems faced by elderly people post 60 years. While regular exercise, stretching of muscles, and staying cautious with your activities are basic preventive steps you can adapt to better your bone health, a strict diet is equally important.
Here are some of the many ways to ensure strong bones with higher bone density and greater bone mass.
Choose Whole-Food Diet:
Whole-food includes milk, cheese, and egg. These products are well-balanced with every nutrient required for a healthy life and strong bones. For people with lower bone density, it is wise to intake calcium-rich food that includes yoghurt, milk, and other dairy products. Non-dairy alternatives for calcium-rich food include soy, salmon, green leafy veggies, nuts, and rice. Intaking calcium-rich and whole-foods strengthen your bones and muscles and protect them from injuries.
Get Enough Vitamin-D:
Vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium from your food intake. Some of the foods rich in Vitamin D include milk, orange juice, soy, rice, egg yolks, and fatty fish. Osteoporosis patients with significantly low bone mass and density require maximum calcium absorption from their diet. Other bone disorders like rickets, fractures, and weak bones in women post-menopause can be drastically improved with a Vitamin D diet.
Staying Active Is the Key:
Your body is like a machine. It requires proper oiling in the form of a balanced diet, and also requires regular oiling for smooth operations. Staying active eliminates the formation of lactic acid in your joints, flexes your muscles, and also initiates muscle and bone building. Regular exercises, running, walking, hiking, low impact aerobics, dancing, tennis, etc are some of the activities that ensure bone development. Yoga, tai chi, weight-lifting also help in strengthening your bones and muscles.
Limit Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake:
Alcohol and coffee are responsible for calcium depletion from your body. Limiting your caffeine intake to two or three cups per day, and your alcohol intake to two or three drinks is ideal for bone development and calcium absorption. Pregnant and breastfeeding women suffering from bone problems should avoid caffeine and alcohol intake at any cost.
Effective light-weight exercises, maintaining a proper diet, limiting the intake of intoxicants are important ways to strengthen your bones and muscles. While reading and thinking about executing these points in your day-to-day life looks easy, keeping at it seems to be difficult for a lot of people. The key is to maintain a routine and to start slowly. While these are some of the many ways one must practise post 30 to ensure stronger bones by the time, they reach 60, consulting your nearest orthopaedic doctor can also prove to be helpful. Dr Sandeep Kapoor from Lucknow is a leading orthopaedic surgeon, consultant, and doctor. With 30+ years of experience and 15000 successful surgeries on his resume, Dr Kapoor is also well acclaimed by global and national orthopaedic forums.