Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones causing low bone mass and deteriorating bone tissues. It has no symptoms and causes no pain. Most don’t realize they have osteoporosis until a bone fracture occurs. Weak bones can easily cause fractures, sometimes just from a minor fall. Fractures are most common at the wrist, hip and spine. A curved back or loss of height can be a warning sign that you have fractures in your spine.
What are some of the risk factors of osteoporosis?
- Family history
- Excessive alcohol use
- Early menopause
- Low body mass index (BMI)
Is there anything I can to do prevent osteoporosis?
Some causes of osteoporosis can’t be prevented, such as your age or family history. However, there are things you can do to help build strong bones such as:
- Weight-bearing exercise, for example climbing stairs, walking, yoga and dancing
- Strength training using ankle and wrist weights or free weights. Push ups and squats will strengthen bones using your own body weight and even carrying groceries will make you stronger and help build bones
- Increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D, both of which build bones. Start with increasing your intake of dark green vegetables, fatty fish and egg yolks. Add supplements if you still aren’t receiving enough calcium or vitamin D. Remember, a few minutes spent outside in the sun is one way to get more vitamin D, just don’t overdo it!
- Don’t drink alcohol. More than 2 drinks per day is linked to higher loss of bone.
- Quit smoking. You are at twice the risk of having osteoporosis if you smoke.
- Don’t over exercise. It lowers your body mass and leads to thin bones. The same goes for excessive dieting.
- Stop drinking soda. New findings are show that the more soda you drink, the more bone loss occurs.
If you are concerned that you may have osteoporosis, arrange with your healthcare provider for a bone density test. Bone density tests are usually for women over 65 or those who have a medical condition which could cause bone loss.
Osteoporosis can in many cases be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle, exercising and eating well. See your doctor for any questions you may have on more ways to prevent developing osteoporosis.