Health Concerns in Common With Other Adults
Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight should be a priority. Being overweight not only increases the risk for many health problems, such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, but also puts additional stress on the skeleton, which is particularly unhealthy for people with OI. Diet recommendations for people with OI should be individualized. Consultation with a nutritionist may be helpful to design a balanced diet and address cholesterol and blood pressure problems. Diet modifications also may be needed to help people with chronic constipation or gastric reflux. In general, a good daily multivitamin will be sufficient for adults with OI, and exotic vitamin supplements are not required.
Diet. Adults of small stature may require less calcium and vitamin D supplementation than usually prescribed. Total calcium intake of 800 to 1,000 mg (milligrams) per day is usually sufficient. Supplemental vitamin D intake should not exceed 800 IU (International Units) per day.
Physical activity. Physical activity to maintain or restore function is a goal of good health management. A low-impact exercise program that may incorporate swimming, a stationary bicycle, or a ski machine is highly recommended. It is important to exercise safely within the range of one's abilities. People with OI may need to consult with a physical therapist or rehabilitation professional to develop an individualized and appropriate program.
Fatigue and weakness. People with OI often report fatigue and weakness. Although muscle weakness may be involved, your primary care doctor should conduct a medical evaluation. Problems such as sleep apnea, anemia, or impaired pulmonary function may contribute to a sense of fatigue. In addition, a gynecologist should evaluate postmenopausal women experiencing fatigue and weakness. In some cases, hormone therapy may be appropriate despite concerns about negative side effects, because of the positive effects of this medication on bone strength.
Alcohol use. There are no statistics about OI and alcohol abuse. However, primary care doctors who are familiar with OI urge moderation in their patients who choose to drink alcoholic beverages. Individuals taking medications should ask their doctor or pharmacist whether alcoholic beverages are permitted. Impaired coordination resulting from too much alcohol or inappropriate mixing of alcohol and medications could lead to serious injury for adults with OI.
Stress and mental health. Health care professionals report that stress as well as the pressures of dealing with chronic health issues can put people at risk for mental health problems. Adults with OI, like other adults, should seek assistance if they experience excessive anxiety or depression.
Annual physical exam. After the age of 40, adults with OI should have a complete physical exam each year. The incidence of cancer and diabetes among adults with OI appears to be similar to rates seen in the general population.
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