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Maintaining bone health in older adults

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Falls are common among adults 65 and older. More than 1.6 million older U.S. adults go to ERs annually for fall-related injuries, and falls are the No. 1 cause of “fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths,” according to the National Institute on Aging.

Because falls are so common among older adults, it’s imperative to keep bones healthy. Although healthy bones can’t prevent falls, having healthy bones can help prevent fractures, the NIA notes.

To help keep your bones strong, the NIA offers a variety of tips, including:

  • Make sure to get enough calcium. Women 50 and older should consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. Men between the ages of 51 and 70 should consume 1,000 mg a day, and men 70 and older should consume 1,200 mg a day. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat dairy products; dark, leafy greens; salmon; soybeans; and various nuts.
  • Eat foods high in vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. The NIA states that herring, sardines, salmon, tuna, liver, eggs, and fortified milk and foods are good sources of vitamin D. Supplements may be needed, but speak with your medical professional before beginning a vitamin D regimen, as consuming too much may be harmful.
  • Stay active. The NIA recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, such as walking, dancing or gardening.
  • Women 65 and older and men 70 and older should talk with their doctor about a bone density test, which assesses bone health and risk of fractures.

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