This past Saturday I was a part of the free senior health fair at DMU. There were nineteen DMU student groups helping put on this health fair. The health fair was open to anyone above the age of 50 and offered numerous stations that they could visit to assess their health. With supervision from clinicians, DMU students provided free blood glucose and blood pressure screening, osteopathic manual treatments, bone density scans and general health information about strokes, heart disease, cancer, nutrition and exercise. I even saw a station for chair massages…. (oh if I was only over 50 I could have hit that up!) There were also Drake University pharmacy students who reviewed medications for those interested.
Our Physician Assistant Club was in charge of the bone density screening and the spirometry (lung function) exams. I had the neat opportunity to work in the bone density station and learned a ton about osteopenia/osteoporosis in the elderly. My specific job was to review the bone density screening results with the patient.
Unfortunately, I saw some patients with low bone density numbers and it was my first taste of sharing unpleasant news with patients. But all in all most people were doing really well and it was fun to counsel patients on prevention. I thought you all may be interested on those prevention tips, so here ya go:
1. Make sure you are eating foods with calcium or taking a supplement.
2. There is evidence that calcium needs to be taken with vitamin D to help it absorb.
3. Stay active: weight-bearing exercises are the best .
4. NO SMOKING
Also a little hint on seeing if your calcium supplements are adequate is to take the tablet and put it in a glass of room temperature water. If the tablet starts to dissolve within 30 minutes then you are golden. However, if the tablet is still whole and hasn’t dissolved by 30 minutes then trying a new tablet would be to your benefit. If it hasn’t dissolved by 30 minutes it indicates it won’t absorb well in your stomach and you aren’t getting the best results from your ca supplement.
So that’s my two cents….but remember I am only a med student.
(See more photos of the fair on DMU’s Facebook page!)