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Palliser Primary Care Network

Family physicians and health professionals serving southern Alberta

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. This, along with other risk factors, can lead to an increased risk of future fractures. (1)

The most common fractures associated with osteoporosis are in the hip, spine, wrist, and shoulder. These injuries, when not associated with trauma, are known as fragility fractures and are also associated with a HIGH risk for future fractures. (1). Here are other factors for patients over 50 that increase an individual’s fracture risk:

– Prolonged glucocorticoid and/or other high-risk medication use

– Parental hip fracture

– Vertebra fracture or Osteopenia on x-ray

– High alcohol intake or current smoking

– Low body weight (<60 kg)

– Rheumatoid Arthritis

– Other disorders strongly associated with osteoporosis, e.g. Crohn’s Disease

– Or over 65 years of age

Take the “Know Your Risk” quiz at https://osteoporosis.ca/risk/ .

These risk factors may prompt an order for BMD (bone mineral density) testing to calculate bone mass. Your health home team uses the scoring from the BMD test along with a risk assessment to determine fracture risk and whether treatment with medication would be beneficial.

Patients should be aware of the three main components of basic bone health:

 

  1. REGULAR EXERCISE

– Strength training and aerobic physical activity

– Daily balance exercises

– Posture awareness

The Too Fit to Fracture initiative addresses how to get started, common barriers and safe practices for preventing fractures and falls. Check it and other exercise recommendations out at: https://osteoporosis.ca/exercise-recommendations/

 

  1. CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D

-Consuming calcium-rich products such as dairy-containing foods (milk, yogurt, cheese), fortified beverages (orange juice, dairy-free), canned salmon, legumes (chickpeas, navy), leafy greens (kale, spinach) and others (1).

-Taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement of between 800-2000 IUs daily (adults over 50 or high risk). This can help increase your overall absorption of calcium. (1)

 

  1. FALL PREVENTION

– Ensuring proper footwear at all times

– Considering a Home Safety and Hazard Assessment, completed by an Occupational Therapist. Speak with your physician for more information.

– Using a cane or mobility device if needed

– Avoiding rushing when getting up and walking

– Requesting regular medication reviews with your Health Home team

 

 

Sources

  1.  Osteoporosis.ca 2022

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Seniors’ Centre Without Walls

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Staying well after Covid

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A list of Palliser PCN health homes (clinics), contact information, and PCN physicians and teams in those locations.