What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that silently thins your bones, year after year. In its early stages, this disease doesn’t make you feel different or look different. As a result, it often is allowed to progress to a dangerous point before anything is done.

Because you can’t feel bone loss, it’s important to see your healthcare professional. There are safe, easy tests available that will tell you how healthy your bones are.

Can men get osteoporosis?

Yes. Twenty percent of the ten million Americans who suffer from osteoporosis are men. One if four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.

Do bones grow throughout life?

yes. We often think of bones as being lifeless and unchanging like a rock. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your bone is living tissue. Bones can be injured and they can heal. They grow throughout your life. That means it is never too late to start protecting your bones.

How can I strengthen my bones?

  1. Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
    Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. You need 400 to 800 units of vitamin D each day. To find out how much calcium you need each day. Look at the chart below.
  2. Do weight-bearing exercise for at least 30 minutes, three to five times a week.
    Weight-bearing exercise is any exercise that requires your bones to support you, like walking, jogging or dancing, Weight training, such as lifting weights or working out on weight-training machines, is the best exercise for strengthening bone. Sticking with a regular exercise routine builds and maintains bone strength and mass.
  3. Practice a healthy lifestyle with no smoking and no excessive alcohol use.
    If you smoke, you double your risk of suffering an osteoporosis-related fracture. Smoking reduces your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Alcohol abuse can also rob your body of the calcium needed to build new bone. And alcohol abuse makes you more prone to falls.

Is there anything else I need to do to protect my bones?

Get a bone density test. A DEXA Bone Density is the only way to know if you have osteoporosis. It will also help your doctor determine your risk for future fracture. Early diagnosis is important since osteoporosis progresses without any symptoms for many years.

Take a calcium inventory.

Healthy bones depend on you getting enough calcium every day. See the chart below to find out how much calcium you need and then evaluate your diet.
Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified orange juice and calcium-fortified ready-to-eat cereal. If you’re not getting enough calcium, you may want to add a calcium supplement to your diet.

Are there different types of fractures?

Yes. Spinal or compression fractures are the most common osteoporosis-related fracture. They happen without a fall or injury. The bones in your spine become so porous and weak that they begin to compress. Compression fractures can be painful or painless. Over time, these fractures of the bones in the spine can cause you to become shorter and develop a curved back.

The spine is not the only place osteoporosis can cause fracture. Hip fractures are the second mos common osteoporosis-related fracture. these usually result from a fall. Other common osteoporosis-related fractures are wrist and rib fractures. Hip fractures are of particular concern because they sometimes result in a loss of independence and can lead to serious complications.