How to Lower Your Risk for Osteoporosis

How to Lower Your Risk for Osteoporosis

You may think of bones as being hard and solid. They are, but they can also be soft and porous in people who develop osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become thin and weak.

Osteoporosis and low bone mass are common medical conditions that affect about 54 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). Although osteoporosis is more common in women, it can also affect men. 

Unfortunately, osteoporosis causes half of women and one-quarter of men over age 50 to break a bone at some point in their lives, according to the NOF.

Treatments for osteoporosis do exist, but the best way to protect your bones is to take steps throughout your life to lower your risk of osteoporosis before it develops or, if you have it, before it worsens.

Your care providers here at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati want to help you protect your bones. Here, we share some tips on steps you can start taking today to safeguard your bone health.

Tip #1: Know your risk

Anyone can develop osteoporosis. However, it is more likely to occur in certain people. For example, your risk goes up if you have medical conditions that affect bone health. Some of these conditions include breast cancer, autoimmune diseases, hormone disorders, and blood diseases. 

In addition, bone loss can occur in people who take certain medications, such as steroids, some types of cancer drugs, some types of gastrointestinal treatments, and some psychiatric medications.

Finally, osteoporosis risk is higher in white and Asian people, as well as those with eating disorders, poor diet, and smaller bodies.

Tip #2: Eat a healthy diet

Good nutrition – especially foods rich in calcium and vitamin D -- can help keep your bones strong. Be sure your diet includes the following bone-building foods:

Providers recommend that some people take supplements containing vitamin D and/or calcium to help their bones. However, it's best not to take supplements without first discussing it with your provider.

Tip #3: Exercise regularly

Doing regular weight-bearing exercise can help protect you from losing bone. Aim to include aerobic fitness activities, such as walking, jogging, running, hiking, dancing, or stair-climbing in your life on a regular basis, along with strength-training workouts.

Tip #4: Quit smoking and limit alcohol

Your bones are one of many body parts negatively impacted by smoking. If you need help quitting, ask your provider or go to smokefree.gov for information, advice, apps, and support.

Excess alcohol intake can also impact your bones. If you need help limiting alcohol intake, talk with your provider or visit samhsa.gov

Tip #5: Have your bones checked regularly

A simple test known as a bone density scan can evaluate the health of your bones. Here at Associates in Women's Health, we offer in-house, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans to our patients.

A DEXA scan can determine whether your bones are weak. A scan is the only way to know for sure whether you have osteoporosis.

DEXA scans are easy and painless. When you have one, you lie on a table while a scanner passes over you. DEXA uses very low doses of radiation and can be completed in as little as 10-20 minutes. Your results are usually available within a day. Your provider will let you know how often you should have a DEXA scan. 

Care for your bones

Don't wait to start caring for your bones. By taking the steps listed here, you can protect yourself from a potentially debilitating condition. To schedule a DEXA scan or an osteoporosis evaluation, call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.

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