No matter how well-intentioned a property owner may be, they may not be able to remove all hazards that could harm individuals living with osteoporosis. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do about commercial properties in South Africa that have accessibility issues. However, there are some steps you can take to guard yourself.
1. Prevent falls before they happen
When you have osteoporosis, falls become much more dangerous. Therefore, you need to take extra precautions to reduce your risk. You might ask facility managers to modify the property by removing or securing curtain cords, loose carpeting and rugs, uneven floorboards, electrical wires, and other tripping hazards. Choose to navigate routes with well-lit corridors and use restrooms with plenty of light. Do not hesitate to ask for help if you feel unsafe.
2. Exercise more
Research shows that South Africans are among the most overweight people in the world. Each week, you should get about 150 minutes of exercise if you are between the ages of 19 and 64. You can improve coordination and balance while strengthening your bones by engaging in strength training and aerobic activity. Before you exercise, you must consult with your doctor – especially when you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
3. Consult with your doctor
Not only can your doctor provide you with exercises and tips for avoiding injury due to accessibility problems, but they can prescribe bone-building medications and conduct bone density tests. Also, after the fact, if you experience a fall, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor (unless it’s an emergency) to make sure there are no injuries.
4. Take more Vitamin D
South Africa provides plenty of opportunities for you to get out into the sun. However, research shows that with our indoor jobs and busy lifestyles, many of us are not getting the Vitamin D we need. You can make up for your sun-free time with a healthy diet featuring plenty of oily fish, egg yolks, liver, red meat, and liver. You may also need to take a multivitamin to get to the recommended 10 milligrams per day.
5. Don’t forget the Calcium
There are also plenty of studies pointing to South Africans’ calcium deficiencies. Your bones are weaker without it. Every day, you should try to consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium if you are under the age of 50 (or under 70 for men). This number increases to 1200 milligrams per day for men over 70 and women over 50.
NOFSA (National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa)
NOFSA is the only non-profit, voluntary health organisation dedicated to promoting lifelong bone health. We focus on reducing the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis while working to find a cure for the disease, and by supporting research and developing programmes of education and advocacy.
Find out more about our work at: www.osteoporosis.org.za
Written by: Lucy Wyndham