22 January 2020 | Features | By Dr Ravi Gaur
Experts say elderly people need to be cautious in winters with checkups, prevention and exercise is one of the best ways apart from sun-basking to slow or prevent problems with joints and bones
When the temperature drops, adults run a higher risk of health problems and bone injuries. Cold air and damp weather contribute in a major way towards bone and joint flare-ups, especially in people who already have bone disease or are over 50 years old. When the barometric pressure drops, tissues in joints swell-up, pushing them against muscles and nerves in the area and causing pain. In winter, one tends to move less, which aggravates bone and joint problems more. Being a couch potato is bad for the joints.
“As people age, after 50 years, calcium leak sets in, resulting in degradation of bone mass, and people are suggested to get their bone density checked bone density measure is reported in T score levels that identify the strength and agility of bones. T score of -1 and above is considered normal, a score between -1 and-2.5 is a sign of osteopenia, a condition in which bone density is below normal, and may lead to osteoporosis. A T score of -2.5 and below indicates osteoporosis. Elderly people also witness increased arthritis pain during winters,” said Dr Ravi Gaur, MD (Pathology), COO, Oncquest Laboratories Limited.
According to Dr Gaur, “At older people sustain a fracture, it should not be seen as an isolated event. Just mending it does not suffice, preventive measures should be pursued. The fracture can be a result of osteoporosis (Hollow Bone Disease), general erosion of bone mass or overall infirmity of bones. A complete assessment of bone structure is suggested after breakage.”
“In contemporary times, multiple treatment options are available which have proven to be very effective in controlling and partially reversing bone fragility. A yearly injection (Bisphosphonate) has proven to be effective in preventing the aggravation of osteoporosis. There are other medicines – tablets and sprays – in the market that prevent this condition,” Dr Gaur added.
Bone mass peaks at the age of 34 and 35, and it is suggested that one should have adequate servings of dairy products and foods that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D, since bone infirmity is a silent epidemic that affects large sections of our population, not just in Delhi and NCR, but across the nation. Exercise is one of the best ways apart from sun-basking to slow or prevent problems with the muscles, joints, and bones. A moderate exercise program can help maintain strength, balance, and flexibility. Exercise helps the bones stay strong. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium. Women need to be especially careful to get enough calcium and vitamin D as they age.