Around 53 million Americans either have osteoporosis or have low bone density and are at risk of the disease and related complications. The team at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, in Manchester and Middletown, Connecticut, diagnoses and treats osteoporosis. However, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So we’re sharing information to help you lower your risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis isn’t an inevitable part of aging and other facts
Your bones are made from living tissue that continually regenerates, much like your skin and muscles. Healthy bone tissue is porous, but strong, like a honeycomb. Osteoporosis occurs when the production of new bone tissue doesn’t keep up with bone loss. As a result, that honeycomb structure becomes more porous and brittle, and your risk of fractures and related complications increases.
Osteoporosis is common among older adults, so many people mistakenly believe that brittle bones are a consequence of the natural aging process. While a degree of bone loss does occur, the severe loss of bone density of osteoporosis is a sign of disease.
You can develop osteoporosis anywhere in your body, but osteoporosis-related fractures usually occur in the wrist, hip, and vertebrae. While the disease is often asymptomatic until you unexpectedly break a bone, you might develop back pain, a stooped posture, or lose height over time.
Osteoporosis risk factors
Information is power, especially when it comes to making decisions to protect your health and prevent osteoporosis. Understanding the risk factors of this disease can help you understand how your actions influence your bone health.
Unfortunately, some of the risk factors are out of your control. For example, while your age doesn’t make osteoporosis inevitable, your risk does increase as you get older. Additionally, women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. Menopause-related estrogen loss affects your ability to generate new cells. Your genetics also affect your chances of developing osteoporosis — if you have a family history of the disease, you’re more likely to get it, too.
However, there are also risk factors that you can do something about by changing your lifestyle or adjusting certain habits.
Osteoporosis prevention tips
You can significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis, and many other diseases, by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Eat a bone-healthy diet
When you were a child, your parents might have told you to drink your milk to build strong, healthy bones. Milk is chock full of the calcium and vitamin D your body uses while building strong bones. You don’t need to drink a glass of milk with dinner every night, but eating a nutritious diet that supplies enough calcium and vitamin D can also help prevent accelerated bone loss.
Our team can evaluate your nutritional needs and add calcium and vitamin D to your diet with delicious foods or supplements.
Exercise to build your bones
Leading a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of osteoporosis — adults who don’t exercise are far more likely to develop the disease than active people. Getting moderate weight-bearing exercise every day is one of the best things you can do to promote optimal bone health.
When you exercise, your bone tissue adapts to the demands you place on your body. You don’t even need to visit an intimidating weight room. Walking, dancing, strength training, or any other activity that makes you work against gravity, known as weight-bearing exercises, are the best bone-building workouts.
Give up unhealthy habits
Smoking and drinking accelerate bone loss, making your bones porous, weak, and fragile. If you needed another reason to give up smoking or cut back on drinking, this is it. Smoking and alcohol interfere with your body’s ability to generate new cells, which contributes to bone loss as well as a wide range of other health problems.
You can have healthy bones at any age
No matter how many osteoporosis risk factors you may have, you can take action now to reduce your risk of this dangerous condition. Whether you’re past the age of 65 or younger with other risk factors, talk to us about scheduling a bone density scan.
The test provides information that allows our team to create customized treatment plans to prevent osteoporosis or stop your disease from progressing. In addition to making healthy lifestyle choices, we can prescribe oral or injectable medication to slow bone loss and reduce your risk of fractures.
If you’re concerned about osteoporosis, give us a call or schedule a consultation online today to learn how to protect your bone health.