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Fighting Frailty

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Itís a vicious cycle: If you have osteoporosis or have suffered a broken hip or other fracture, you are susceptible to frailty. And† if you are frail and have had a fracture, youíre at a substantially increased risk for another fracture, especially a hip fracture.

Fortunately, experts on aging say that it is possible to forestall and, in many cases, prevent frailty from ever developing. It can even be reversed if caught in its earliest stages.

In the recent report Frailty Consensus: A Call to Action, an international panel of experts, including researchers at Johns Hopkins, identified four key targets for intervention: †

  • Diet. Current U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that women over age 50 consume 1,600 to 2,200 calories daily, depending on activity level. For men of the same age, the recommendation is 2,000 to 2,800 calories. Unless youíve been placed on a restrictive diet by your doctor, try to eat a balanced diet. If itís simply not possible for you to eat all of the food recommended, ask your doctor whether you need a nutritional supplement.†
  • Vitamin D supplementation. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium effectively. But, people age 50 and older often have a vitamin D deficiency. If youíre at-risk group, ask your doctor to check your vitamin D level. Research suggests that in older people who have a vitamin D deficiency, supplementation will reduce the risk of falls, hip fractures and dying prematurely. It may also improve muscle function.
  • Exercise. Muscle strength, stamina, flexibility and balance all improve with exercise. Multiple studies show that these improvements can occur within just weeks of starting to exercise. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program for additional advice and precautions you should take.
  • Medication. Many older people take multiple prescription medications, which increases the risk of adverse drug interactions. In addition, our bodies metabolize medications less efficiently with age, increasing the risk of side effects such as cognitive impairment, delirium, motor vehicle accidents, falls and fractures. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) lists several types of medications should be used with caution or avoided altogether in older people because of such risks.

Other potential causes of frailty include depression, cognitive decline, visual and hearing problems, diabetes and congestive heart failure. Ongoing and appropriate medical care, with attention to the risk for frailty, can help keep these conditions under control and reduce the risk that they will contribute to frailty.†

Posted in Osteoporosis on June 12, 2015

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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