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Women's Health

Osteoporosis Education and Advice Needed

Wellness programs need to focus more efforts on educating their participants about osteoporosis. By informing your members of the following recommendations, and placing a greater emphasis on osteoporosis, employees might take the steps to prevent this disease.

Make participants aware of the risk factors:

* Being female — especially thin, Caucasian or Asian

* Being post-menopausal

* Having a family history of osteoporosis

* Being older than 40 years of age

* Being physically inactive

* Taking corticosteroids, thyroid medications, anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, Dilantin, diuretics, antacids with aluminum, and drugs that alter digestion, such as Ranitidine

* Smoking

* Heavy consumption of alcohol

* Heavy consumption of carbonated beverages, coffee

* Low intake of calcium and vitamin D

* Chronic disease of the kidney, lung, stomach and intestines

* Hormonal changes because of menopause or hysterectomy

* Lactose intolerance, low stomach acid


Make participants aware a regular exercise program can be very helpful in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Walking, skipping rope, jogging, playing racquet sports, swimming and aerobics are weight-bearing activities that can be helpful.

Let members who suffer from osteoporosis know it is imperative they consult their healthcare practitioner before beginning any weight lifting program that could result in excessive strain on bones.

If Tai Chi is not part of your program, you might want to consider it. Tai Chi is beneficial for those with severe osteoporosis.

Don’t allow those who suffer from osteoporosis to bend or lift heavy objects. They should always bend from the knees, not the waist, when lifting, and avoid hunching while sitting or standing.

Recommend calcium supplements. The National Institutes of Health’s recommendations are 1,000 mg/day for post-menopausal women taking estrogen; 1,500 mg/day for post-menopausal women nottaking estrogen, and 1,500 mg/day for men and women over 65 years of age.

Wellness professionals also should always stress the importance of a healthy, balanced diet, including fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Recommend broccoli, kale, collard greens, cabbage and turnip greens. Urge participants to experiment with tofu, salmon, sardines and grains. (A glass of low-fat milk and a cup of yogurt can add 600 mg of calcium to their daily diets).

Heavy coffee drinkers should drink at least a similar amount of additional water along with eight, eight-ounce glasses of water.

© 2002 Health Resources Publishing