Osteoporosis in the workplace affects a large number of older workers. Those over age 50 are particularly susceptible, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. In the United States, more women 55 and older are hospitalized each year due to osteoporosis-related fractures than for life-threatening conditions, such as strokes, breast cancer and heart attacks, Bone News reports.
The Higher Risk for Women
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men. In fact, this disease affects 1 in 4 women aged 65 and over. As such, screenings are recommended for women who fall into this age range.
These screenings are typically conducted using low-level x-rays called dual/energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which can show not only current cases of the condition, but also reveal if a person has low bone density (a weaker than normal skeletal structure and a higher than normal propensity for osteoporosis).
Ways to Aid Members
Trustees can help members at risk for or with osteoporosis by informing them about the overarching condition, associated risk factors and preventive measures. The latter includes following a healthy diet with recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, regularly performing weight-bearing exercises, limiting alcohol and refraining from smoking. The Mayo Clinic also recommends limiting salt, sugar and caffeine. Though osteoporosis occurs primarily in older adults, the earlier a person starts following the proper dietary and exercise regimen, the less likely he or she will suffer from the condition later in life.
As The New York Times reports, drugs may be prescribed for more severe cases of osteoporosis, but many patients fear the rare side effects. In many cases, this type of drug treatment is only temporary, until the condition significantly improves. Before affected members begin any exercise regimen, they should seek out the advice of a medical professional. By alerting members about the dangers of the disease, including broken bones, funds can help limit the damaging effects of osteoporosis in the workplace.
Phil Britt has worked as a journalist for 40 years, specializing in business issues for the last 30. His work covering the steel industry and its labor issues has been referenced in books, while his articles have appeared on numerous websites, national and international publications. Among current and past clients have been the American Medical Association, Afcom, the Credit Union National Association, Independent Banker, EH Publishing, the Southeast Chicago Development Commission, the Northwest Indiana Times and Insurance & Technology Magazine, just to name a few.