Post-Menopausal At-Risk Women Seek Expertise of ATCs
DALLAS (March 26, 2003) – One in five women over the age of 70 and one in three women over the age of 80 will suffer a hip fracture during her lifetime, and upon reaching menopause, women are even more susceptible to rapid bone loss as the body’s estrogen level falls. These are just three of the many alarming realities known about osteoporosis and the negative effects the “thinning of bones” has on women. Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) increasingly are becoming a significant part of the health care team, to which women look for measures to prevent osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, four steps to prevent osteoporosis include: a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise, a healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol use, and maintaining bone density testing and medications as appropriate. ATCs play a valuable role in assisting women with proper exercise and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. “It is proven that exercise has been shown to be an effective preventive measure against osteoporosis,” said Marjorie Albohm, MS, ATC/L member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). “Certified athletic trainers are the experts in providing exercises specifically aimed at preventing injuries, but they also excel in health prevention for conditions like osteoporosis. ATCs have been excellent advocates for defining the best regimen for middle-aged women looking to steadily slow their bone loss.” Albohm is director of orthopaedic research and sports medicine for Orthopaedics Indianapolis. In order to build and maintain bone mass and density, ATCs can identify weight-bearing and resistance exercises best suited for women. Low impact aerobics, walking, running, tennis, soccer and dancing are weight-bearing exercises designed to build up bone strength, while resistance exercises such as using free weights and weight machines also are important. “The ATC can plan exercise programs for post-menopausal women, who are most at risk for osteoporosis. Ideally, ATCs work very closely with these women well in advance, to prevent the worst from happening down the road – like a hip, spine or wrist fracture,” added Albohm. “At our clinic, we have a program in place to address this, and we continue to receive excellent feedback from our patients. The women we have assisted are pleased to learn how simple exercise steps can stimulate bone strength to counter the loss.” Women who want to include ATCs as part of their lifelong wellness program can find an ATC through NATA. Athletic trainers are typically employed by sports medicine clinics, rehabilitation clinics, high schools, colleges and professional sports teams. This month, Albohm will join other athletic trainers across the country in celebrating “National Athletic Training Month.” This year’s theme of Injury Assessment: The First Step in Treatment & Recovery is being carried out nationally, as well as in individual communities, where ATCs are hosting special events and educational activities to boost public awareness about the athletic training profession. About NATA: Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports the more than 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. www.nata.org.