Osteoporosis is defined by the National Osteoporosis Foundation as a chronic, progressive disease characterized by low bone mass, microarchitecture deterioration of bone tissue, bone fragility, and a consequent increase in fracture risk. About one in two women and up to one in four men over 50 years old will break a bone due to osteoporosis; causing an estimated two million broken bones each year! While this is most common in postmenopausal white women, men and women of all races and age groups can be affected.
So what can you do to protect your bones?
1. Calcium/vitamin D: It is important to get enough calcium and vitamin D, as well as eating a well balanced diet full of foods that are good for bone health. People over 50 years old need 1200 mg Ca daily. Some foods that are high in Ca include dairy foods, canned fish with soft bones, and dark leafy vegetables. Vitamin D is needed for absorption of Ca in the body. Recommended doses are 400 IU for ages 51-70 and 600 IU for those over 70 years old. Most people’s bodies will naturally produce this with 20 minutes of sun exposure daily.
2. Weight bearing exercise: Engage in regular weight bearing exercise.
3. Avoid tobacco/ alcohol: Tobacco use increases loss of bone mass, while excessive alcohol may increased risk for falling and breaking a bone.
4. Talking to medical provider about medications: Every medications has benefits and risks, and these should be carefully discussed prior to starting any new regimen. Medications that are may increase your risk of bone loss include glucocorticoids, some anti epileptic drugs, aromatase inhibitors, chemotherapeutic drugs, methotrexate, PPIs, SSRIs, thyroid hormones in excess.
5. Fall prevention: be aware of surroundings and keep commonly used items well within reach. Wear safe footwear. Use assistive devices if needed.
Current clinical guidelines suggest that women over 65 years old and men over 70 years old should undergo DEXA scan once every 2 years, unless new health risks develop.
Our goal is to keep you active for as long as possible! Visit www.NOF.org or speak with your primary care or orthopedic provider to learn more.