Osteoporosis Prevention Tips
What is Osteoporosis?
The word osteoporosis means “porous bone.” It’s a disease that occurs when the body’s bone mass decreases, doesn’t make enough bone, or both, which causes the bones to become weak and brittle. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), approximately 10 million Americans currently have the condition, with another 43 million at risk for the disease due to low bone density.
We can’t actually feel our bones getting weaker as we age, however, most people discover they have osteoporosis after a fracture when the pain becomes chronic. Complicating matters, osteoporosis greatly increases your chances of a fracture, even from a minor event like bumping into furniture.
Osteoporosis Prevention Month 2017
May has been designated National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month with the intention of promoting good bone health through the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis. Throughout the month, people are encouraged to understand why they might be at risk for the disease, as well as what preventative measures can be taken for improving bone health.
The first step in osteoporosis prevention is understanding the risk factors for getting the disease. These risk factors include:
Stick to a routine. Humans thrive on routine, and setting a schedule for eating every day can help increase your appetite. Designate times not only for meals but also for snacking to get your body used to a daily routine.
- Your gender. Females make up 80 percent of the people who have osteoporosis. However, men over the age of 50 are more likely to break a bone from osteoporosis than get prostate cancer.
- Your age. Although you can get osteoporosis at any age, people over the age of 65 are more likely than younger people to have it.
- Your body type. Being small and thin puts you more at risk for osteoporosis. However, this doesn’t mean larger body types are not at risk, too.
- Your medications and current health. Certain medicines like steroids that are used to treat asthma, allergies or arthritis can cause osteoporosis, as well as other medical conditions like celiac disease or diabetes. Talk to your doctor about your medications and health issues to see if you might be more at risk for osteoporosis.
- Your family history. If family members had osteoporosis, it’s more likely that you will have it, too. While it’s possible they may have gone undiagnosed, if you know they suffered from broken bones or a curved spine, it’s entirely possible they had it.
- Your lifestyle. Exercising and eating healthy foods, as well as getting enough calcium and vitamin D, can help prevent bone loss. You’re more at risk for osteoporosis if you live a sedentary lifestyle, smoke cigarettes and drink an excessive amount of alcohol.
Preventing Osteoporosis: It IS Possible
Everyone can take measures to ensure they’re decreasing their chances for osteoporosis. The NOF recommends these five steps to start improving your bone health and preventing the onset of osteoporosis:
- Getting the correct daily amount of vitamin D and calcium is vital to preventing osteoporosis, so eat a well-balanced diet and talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the right amount of supplements you may need to take.
- If you are a woman who has reached menopause or a man 50 or older, get a bone mineral density test. Or at the very least, have a discussion with your doctor about when you should get one.
- Since your bones get stronger when you make them work, make sure to exercise regularly, focusing on weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
- Make the necessary healthy adjustments to your lifestyle. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use.
- Take the osteoporosis medication prescribed for you when the time comes to help prevent broken bones.
Senior Wellness Programs at Advent Christian Village
The Copeland Community Center at Advent Christian Village supports our members’ healthy lifestyles. Use the fitness facilities to not only improve your strength and flexibility but also help decrease your risk for osteoporosis and other chronic conditions. We invite you to contact us to schedule a personal, guided tour so you can see all that ACV has to offer.