Living

with Osteoporosis

In addition to nutrition and exercise to prevent and manage osteoporosis, you can reduce your risk of fractures. Preventing falls is especially important among people with osteoporosis. Falls may be caused by environmental factors (obstacles and slippery surfaces, for example), impaired vision or balance, chronic diseases that affect mental and physical functioning, and certain medications such as sedatives or antidepressants. Tips for managing environmental factors are listed below. If you are affected by any of the health conditions listed above, consult your doctor about ways to manage these conditions.

In the elderly, falls are a frequent cause of fractures. A home can be filled with unsuspected hazards. Slip rugs can slip and should be removed. Staircases should be well-lighted. Nonslip surfaces should be on the stairs and in bathtubs and showers. Clutter should be removed. Innumerable patients have described tripping over some object on the floor that they overlooked. Pets need to be well-trained. A leash can quickly become a tourniquet around the legs and down you go. We love our pets, but they should not put their companions at risk.

Managing Indoor and Outdoor Risks for Falls

  • Use a cane or walker.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes for traction. Avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers. Instead, wear supportive, low-heeled shoes even indoors.
  • Avoid slippery surfaces whenever possible (slippery surfaces include wet or icy sidewalks and highly polished floors).
  • Use carpet runners.
  • Keeps rooms and floors free of clutter.
  • Keep stairwells and hallways well lit.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom near the shower, tub, and toilet.
  • Use a rubber mat in the shower or tub.
  • Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries near your bed.

References


The National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse National Institutes of Health

National Osteoporosis Foundation