October 12-20 marks National Bone and Joint Action Week — an annual event raising awareness for bone and joint health. Research shows that more than half of Americans over 18 are affected by musculoskeletal conditions. What’s more, “bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide affecting hundreds of millions of people.” These conditions typically worsen with age. As millions of Baby Boomers enter retirement over the coming years, the cost of bone and joint problems could skyrocket.
Common Bone and Joint Disorders
We build bone mass as we grow. Kids who eat balanced diets and get lots of exercise, develop stronger bones, and maintain better bone health later in life. Our bones are strongest in our 20’s and 30’s and then begin deteriorating in middle age. That’s why it’s critical for people in their 40’s and 50’s to watch their diets and exercise regularly. This task can be difficult for busy adults with many demands on their time. By the time we enter our 60’s and 70’s, our bones and joints have endured a lifetime of wear-and-tear and often begin to break down. There are two primary types of bone and joint conditions:
- Osteoarthritis: The most common form of arthritis occurs when the cartilage cushioning your bones and joints wears down. This painful condition is most common in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.
- Osteoporosis: This condition occurs when new bone growth doesn’t keep up with bone loss. As a result, bones are weaker and more prone to fracture.
Fortunately, people of all ages can help protect their bones and joints through a few simple lifestyle changes.
Protecting Your Bones and Joints
Preserving bone and joint health is essential as we age because it impacts mobility and our quality-of-life. With that in mind, here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself today.
- Watch Your Weight: Doctors say that every additional pound you carry puts four times that pressure on your joints. Understanding that statistic makes it clear why maintaining a healthy weight is so critical in supporting joint health. Carrying extra body weight puts additional strain on the knees and hips in particular, which can cause osteoarthritis later in life.
- Exercise: Not only is exercise good for your cardiovascular health, but it also builds strong bones and joints. Impact exercises like running and resistance exercises like weight lifting promote bone growth. Plus, exercise will help you lose weight which puts less stress on your skeletal system.
- Build Muscle: Your muscles work to support your joints. So by keeping your muscles strong and toned through exercises like weight training and yoga, your joints will have to do much less work.
- Don’t Slouch: Minding your posture by sitting and standing up straight helps protect your neck, back, and hips.
- Eat Right: A diet rich in calcium, protein, and vitamin D will help keep your bones and joints healthy.
Seniors Must Be Mindful of Bone and Joint Health
Because bone mass naturally declines as we age, people in their 60’s and 70’s must be especially mindful of their bone and joint health. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult for older people to stay active and take care of themselves the way they should. In-home caregivers can help seniors stay healthy by ensuring they eat well-balanced meals and helping them stay active. Seniors who don’t watch their bone health are at increased risk of falling in their home and suffering from bone breaks. For seniors, bone breaks — especially hip fractures — can have long-lasting health implications.
If you live in Arizona and would like to learn more, we’d love to talk. Call Generations Home Care today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or fill out the contact form on our website.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.