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What you should know about osteoporosis

Although our bones feel hard like stone, they are actually living tissue that constantly changes. From birth, our bones grow and get stronger for around 20 or so years until they reach peak bone mass. Then things begin to change as some bone cells dissolve and new ones form. When bone loss happens faster than new bone growth, it is called osteoporosis. There is a misconception that osteoporosis is a natural part of aging like gray hair. However, it is preventable and not strictly part of aging. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and includes people who are as young as 50. Understanding osteoporosis is a key to preventing and treating this disease. Here is some basic information to get you started.

There are two types of risks associated with osteoporosis. Modifiable risks are those that impact bone biology and can be avoided. They include excessive alcohol intake, smoking, low body mass, poor nutrition, low Vitamin D and lack of exercise. To lower your osteoporosis risk, look at your lifestyle and make changes. Avoid heavy drinking and stop smoking. Improve your diet, especially your calcium intake. Start a program of regular weight bearing exercise. Doing these things will decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis

Fixed risks can’t be changed but by being aware of them, you can take extra care to avoid osteoporosis. Some of these risk factors include advanced age, being female, family history of osteoporosis, menopause and rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to remember that these are risk factors, not a guarantee that you will develop osteoporosis. If your mother had osteoporosis, it is still possible for you to avoid the disease by being proactive with your lifestyle choices.

Osteoporotic fractures are common. It is estimated that an osteoporotic fracture occurs every three seconds. The most common breaks occur at the hip, spine and wrist. The most challenging are hip or spinal fractures. Hip fractures often require surgery and therapy. Some spinal fractures can be painless but lead to the development of a curved back or other issues since the person is unaware that the break occurred. Other spinal fractures bring on intense pain and are challenging to treat.

Bone loss is very gradual and painless so most people do not know they are developing osteoporosis. For many, the first sign is a broken bone. There are some diagnostic tests available and your doctor may suggest them if you have risk factors for the disease. The best plan is to be proactive in preventing the disease. Just as you brush your teeth to keep them healthy, eat a healthy diet and get exercise to keep your bones healthy. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is treatable.

When the break occurs
As stated earlier, many people find out they have osteoporosis when they fall and break a bone. A common break is a hip fracture, which often needs surgery and targeted therapy for recovery. For a truly effective recovery and guidance on how to avoid future falls and breaks, many people choose to recover at a rehabilitation center where experienced professionals can provide top-notch care and effective therapy.

Whitehall of Deerfield is the North Shore’s premier location for short-term rehabilitation following hospitalization for a fall and broken bone. Whitehall of Deerfield has consistently received Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and rehabilitation centers, which reflects Whitehall of Deerfield’s outstanding clinical care and outcomes.

One of the best ways to regain mobility and flexibility following a serious fall or fracture is a short-term stay at Whitehall of Deerfield where there is a team of medical professionals ready to help each guest. To begin, highly trained and skilled therapists help guests regain their ability to return to an active lifestyle. Since no two people have the same set of needs, therapy sessions are conducted one-on-one so that the physical therapists can focus solely on your specific needs and continually encourage you to push forward to reach your personal goals. They can also help you make changes to your lifestyle to address issues connected with osteoporosis. The attentive staff also expertly assists with pain management and makes sure all medications are taken on schedule to reduce complications.

At Whitehall of Deerfield, guests enjoy their stay in spacious suites and rooms featuring such amenities as high-speed wireless Internet, concierge service, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper, dozens of cable channels with a 24-hour channel of newly released movies, and even valet parking for visitors.

Guests can also enjoy a wide-ranging choice of cuisine from selective menus as well as a variety of dining settings. An on-site ice cream parlor and coffee shop offer fresh-baked goods in the mornings and ice cream treats in afternoon, as well as gourmet coffee all day long.

To learn more or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

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