Updated 08 July 2014

Tips on living with osteoporosis

If you have osteoporosis, you need to check your diet carefully, and check your living spaces for tripping hazards. Here are some tips on making your life easier.

If you have osteoporosis, you need to exercise greater care in your everyday life than others normally do.

You need to check your diet carefully, and you need to make sure that your living environment is organised in such a way that it prevents falls. Here are some tips on making your life easier.

  • Calcium supplementsFrom the age of 40, through the menopause and into old age, women should also consider taking calcium supplements on a regular basis. Not every calcium supplement is able to provide the large quantities of calcium women require after the menopause to keep their bones strong and elastic to prevent factures.
  • Ask the professionals. Ask your chemist which of the many supplements contain the highest amount of bioavailable calcium.
  • Hallo, Sunshine.The human body is capable of making vitamin D under the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. However, older women may not go out into the sun as often as they should or may be forced to stay indoors because of illness or disabilities. If this is the case, then chat to your doctor or chemist about vitamin D supplementation.
  • Added vitamin D.Nowadays foods like margarine contain added vitamin D. Check the kind of margarine you buy to ensure that it contains this vitamin which helps the body to maintain strong bones.
  • Add in the good stuff. Add powdered milk to soups, casseroles and drinks. Buy juices, cereals, grains and bottled water fortified with calcium. Half a cup of diced figs on 240 g of yoghurt will give you more than half of your daily calcium needs.
  • Avoid the heavy stuff. Try not to pick up things that are lower than waist-high. If it can't be avoided, bend your knees and try to keep your spine straight and bring the object as close as possible. Pick it up and use your legs to lift while keeping your spine straight.
  • Getting out of bed. Roll over onto one side first and use your arm to help you get into a sitting position. Try not to get straight up from a position of lying down – it puts a lot of stress on your bones.
  • Making your bed. When making a bed, do one side at a time. Don't life the mattress with a rounded back. Leave the sheets and blankets untucked. If you want to tuck them kneel down, and keep your back straight while doing this task.
  • Bathroom basics. Install stable handrails around the bath and toilet. Make sure you don't slip in the bath by putting a rubber mat inside it. Steer clear of bathroom mats that could trip you up – rather opt for rubber ones.
  • Lighten up. Make sure there is good lighting around your house, especially en route to the toilet at night. A light that switches on when it senses motion, might also be an idea.
  • Trim those hemlines. Don't trip over long dresses, skirts or pajama pants. This happens very easily when you go up a flight of stairs. Also make sure the stairs have sturdy handrails.
  • Cut the clutter. Many people fall over clutter or over electrical cords and wiring that run through common traffic areas. Not only are loose wires a fire risk, they could cause you serious injury if you tripped and fell over them.
  • Being tripped up. Many people who suffer from osteoporosis, sustain serious injuries when they fall over pets or over children's toys that are lying around. Good lighting could help you spot the dangers in advance.

National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa
PO Box 481

Tel. (021)-931 7894

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Healthy Bones

Tereza is the CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked as a Nursing Sister in the field of Osteoporosis for 18 years prior to her appointment with the Foundation. She used to be the Educational Officer for the Foundation and co-wrote the patient brochure on Osteoporosis. Read more

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