Bone Health Problems and Exercise

Osteoporosis

The diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually made when a bone scan using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry results in a ‘T score’ of 2.5 or more below normal values, when a bone fracture occurs with minimal impact, or there are several risk factors. Diagnoses based on Ultrasound need to be confirmed with DXA. A diagnosis of’osteopenia’, means you have a lower than normal BMD but you are not osteoporotic.

If you already have this problem the exercise prescription must be modified. For example, high impact exercise is more likely to harm than help because it could cause a fracture. You need to concentrate on the good practice section and the balance exercises in order to protect you against falls, and the home exercises for your back in order to strengthen the supporting muscles round your spine and to help you to keep your spine straight.

Osteoarthritis

This disease is often confused with osteoporosis because the names are similar; it is a disease of the joints, not the bones, from which many women suffer in later life.

The symptoms are pain at night and stiffness in the morning, typically affecting the hands, knees and hips. Impact loads must be avoided and exercise which is free of joint loading, such as swimming, is most beneficial.

The gentle options of the home exercises will maintain muscle strength around the joint and help to control pain, and stretching is useful for improving joint function and range of movement.

Cardiovascular problems

Heart disease is common in later life but the home exercises are not designed to cause breathlessness, high pulse rates or raised blood pressure. If you do the gentle options slowly, with rests, and pay attention to the cautions with each exercise, there should be no cardio-respiratory distress.

Falls

These are also common in later life and are the main cause of fractures, so if you have a history of falls avoid exercises which put you at risk. The good practice, balance and home exercises should safely improve your postural control.

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