Osteoporosis is a disease that, over time, reduces bone density and subsequently weakens your skeleton. For someone with osteoporosis, even the most minor fall or injury can result in bone fractures. While these fractures can occur anywhere in the body, they are most common in the wrists, hips, and spine.
As you age, it’s important to be aware of the risks of osteoporosis and learn which steps you can take to reduce the risk of you suffering from this debilitating disease. Fortunately, and along with the help of your doctor, you can do many things to protect yourself from the dangers of osteoporosis.
3 Warning Signs of Osteoporosis
- A bone that breaks more easily than expected.
- A stooped posture and even a loss of height over time.
- Back pain that could be caused by a collapsed or fractured vertebra in your back.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until they suffer their first fracture. That said, all people over the age of 50 should keep an eye on their bone health by scheduling regular bone density tests. If you’ve noticed any of the following signs or symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor about an osteoporosis screening:
- Bone fractures after age 50
- Back pain caused by fracture or collapsed vertebra
- Increasingly stooped or slouched posture
- Use of medications that can result in bone dentistry loss
- A family history of osteoporosis or fractures
What Causes Osteoporosis
Our bodies are always working to increase our bone density. This process continues until about age 50 when bone production slows down and bone loss tends to accelerate. While osteoporosis can affect both sexes, it’s more common in women, especially those experiencing menopause. Osteoporosis can also be exacerbated by several lifestyle choices, medications, and medical conditions, including, but not limited to:
- hyperthyroidism and hyperparathyroidism
- Lung disease
- Certain autoimmune disorders
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Pituitary gland disorders
- Glucocorticoids and corticosteroids
- Anticoagulants and blood-thinners
- Reduced estrogen or testosterone
- Certain antidepressants
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Alcohol abuse
- Certain eating disorders
Additionally, some unavoidable factors may contribute to a person’s tendency to develop osteoporosis:
- Age: The risk of osteoporosis can start increasing after the mid-30s
- Ethnicity: White and Asian people are at a higher risk than other ethnic groups
- Height and weight: Those who weigh under 125 pounds or those who are over 5’ 7” tall are at increased risk.
- Family history: genetic factors like a history of osteoporosis could increase the risk of osteoporosis.
How to Prevent the Risk of Osteoporosis
It’s never too early to start thinking about how to maintain bone density as you age. Keep the following tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your body healthy:
- Get enough calcium. Most women under the age of 50 and men under the age of 70 need 1,000mg of calcium per day. Most women over 50 and men over 70 should get 1,200mg of calcium each day. Calcium can be taken in supplements or gotten from foods like milk, dark greens, and beans. Talk to your doctor about how much calcium you should be getting daily.
- Up your vitamin D intake. The general rule of thumb is for individuals under 70 to get 600 IU per day and for those over 70 to get 800 IU per day. Your doctor can help you determine how much vitamin D you should be taking.
- Don’t forget potassium and protein. Lean meats, fish, and beans are great sources of the protein you need to help strengthen your bones, and fruits and veggies are the best way to get the potassium needed to aid calcium metabolism.
- Exercise often. Weight-bearing exercises that get your body moving can help strengthen your bones. Walking, dancing, weight lifting, and yoga can help improve flexibility, posture, balance, and muscle strength.
Finally, find the right doctor to help with your osteoporosis treatment and prevention. Whether you want to check on how your bone density is doing or need advice regarding what medications you can take to help treat your osteoporosis, Central Carolina Orthopedic Associates can help develop the treatment plan that’s best for you. Click here to schedule your consultation today.