As we age, our bones become more brittle and susceptible to fractures, and for some, this can lead to the condition known as osteoporosis. It's important to assess your bone health, understand your risk factors for weakened or broken bones, and take action now to prevent or manage the condition.
In this blog post, we have gathered valuable insights from American Bone Health™, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about bone health and providing guidance on safeguarding your bones. Join us as we delve into the crucial topics of osteoporosis, including risk factors, prevention strategies, and effective management techniques. Discover actionable steps to maintain healthy and strong bones, ensuring a resilient skeletal system throughout your life.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle, which can lead to fractures. Age, gender, and family history are all important risk factors for osteoporosis. Women are more likely than men to develop this condition, and the risk increases as we age. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, you may be more susceptible to this condition.
There are steps we can take to prevent or manage osteoporosis. Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D is important for maintaining strong bones. Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercises like walking or dancing, can also help to keep your bones strong.
Everyone—at every age—should talk with their healthcare provider about their bone health. If you or a loved one is at risk for osteoporosis, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider about getting screened and tested. For those who are diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are medications and other treatments available that can help manage this condition and reduce the risk of fractures.
Osteoporosis is also associated with an increased risk of falling. Along with exercises and fall prevention techniques, a medical alert device can ensure that you can get help quickly if needed and mitigate further impact to your bone health. At Medical Guardian we offer a range of devices and services to help you stay safe and independent. If you let one of our safety consultants know you have or are at risk for Osteoporosis, we can help you find the best device for your lifestyle.
What is Osteopenia?
Osteopenia is a condition in which bone mineral density is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Essentially, it's a precursor to osteoporosis. While osteopenia is not as severe as osteoporosis, it is still a concern because it can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures.
Osteopenia can occasionally be more difficult to manage than osteoporosis as it often goes undetected and untreated. Unlike osteoporosis, which is typically diagnosed using a bone mineral density test, osteopenia may not be detected until a fracture occurs. By the time osteopenia is diagnosed, bone loss may have already progressed, making it more difficult to treat. Osteopenia is more common than osteoporosis and affects a larger population of people, including younger individuals. This means that there may be a greater number of people with undiagnosed osteopenia who are at risk for developing osteoporosis and fractures.
It's important to take steps to prevent and manage bone loss. Here are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Get enough calcium and vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for maintaining strong bones, so make sure you're getting enough of both in your diet. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods. Vitamin D is produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, but it can also be found in fatty fish and fortified foods.
Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, dancing, or lifting weights can help build and maintain bone density. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Smoking is bad for your bones, as well as your overall health. Smoking has been linked to decreased bone density and increased risk of fractures, so quitting smoking can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Limit alcohol consumption
Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to decreased bone density and increased risk of fractures. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and limit your intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Be mindful of medications
Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and some anticonvulsants, can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Talk to your healthcare provider about the potential side effects of any medications you're taking and discuss alternatives if necessary.
By making these simple lifestyle changes, you can help protect your bone health and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and osteopenia. If you're concerned about your bone health, take the American Bone Health Fracture Risk Calculator. You can see your results right away and then take them to your healthcare provider to start a conversation about additional steps to maintain strong bones.