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Age UK Falls and Osteoporosis

The two conditions are closely bound up with weakened bones vulnerable to fractues from falls. The latest findings offer some hope for both.

Prevention is high on the agenda to reduce falls and fractures which are so costly and debilitating. Fortunately what helps for one works for the good of the other. Well-developed muscles act as padding round the bones in the hip area and the pull of muscles and their attachments strengthen the long bones so essential to our mobility.

There is a surge of good hormones following activity and a reduction of cortisol, the stress factor which decreases bone density. Care must be taken not to carry out vigorous exercise if there is not regular activity.

Tips to follow are to sit no longer than 2 hours as sedentary life styles lead to reduced balance and poor circulation. Standing on one leg for a minute a day on each leg appears to raise the density of bones, as does vigorous housework. Going up and down stairs does good all round. Back flexion and extension movements are extremely important. This will help prevent the 'dowager's hump' developing and stress fractures of the vertebra. If there are fractures of the vertebral bodies care should be taken and you should be advised by the GP or physiotherapist.

What are known as Otago sessions are proved to reduce falls and strengthen bone, but are only effective when continued.

As far as nutrition is concerned, calcium and Vitamin D are essential for muscle and bone health. !0 minutes of sun a day is necessary for production of Vit D. Calcium is plentiful in dairy products and some vegetables.

Various medication in injection form is available from your GP. Some advise that a 5-year drug holiday should be taken in long-term cases.