Osteoporosis means "porous bone," and is a chronic disease characterized by the loss of bone density, in which bone loss outpaces the growth of new bone. This inability of the body to create new bone tissue causes the bones to become weak and brittle, thus increasing a patient's risk of fracture.
Osteoporosis is often considered the "silent disease" because patients may not experience any symptoms until a bone breaks. Although patients over 50 are the most at risk for osteoporosis, there are many things you can do to prevent this disease at any age. Consider the following steps you can take right now to avoid bone loss:
1. Get Screened
It is recommended for men and women over 50 to undergo a bone density screening. Depending on your first test results, you may need a repeat screening. Bone density tests can help you and your doctor:
- Learn if you have weak bones
- Predict your chances of breaking a bone
- Identify if your bone density is improving or not
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet can significantly improve your bone density. Some of the best foods to eat include:
- Dairy products such as low-fat/non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- Fruits such as bananas, grapefruit, prunes, oranges, and papaya
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and
3. Take Your Vitamins
If you're not getting the recommended amount of nutrients from your food, it's important to take vitamin supplements. Calcium and Vitamin D are two of the most essential vitamins for your body to build strong and healthy bones. The amount of calcium and vitamin D you need depends on your age and sex.
4. Engage in Regular Physical Activity
Participating in weight-bearing exercise such as strength training, walking, running, dancing, or climbing stairs can help strengthen your bones and decrease your risk of fracture.
5. Stop Smoking
Research has discovered a direct correlation between tobacco and reduced bone density and has also suggested that smoking increases the risk of fracture.
- Increased alcohol use
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Earlier menopause in women
- Weight factors
6. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Heavy drinking can lead to bone loss, as it interferes with the body's balance of calcium. To avoid this, limit your alcoholic beverages. Drinking more than two to three drinks per day increases your risk of bone loss and many other systemic issues that play an important role in overall health.
As a comprehensive orthopedic facility, MCO treats patients with bone fractures caused by injuries, accidents, or simply as a result of wear and tear. We also offer preventative, proactive support through our Bone Health Clinic where patients can receive safe, quick, and non-invasive bone screenings to help evaluate overall bone health. Contact us today to schedule your appointment! 309-663-6461