Did you know that more than 50 million people in the U.S. live with osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones over time. Healthy bones should be strong enough to support an individual’s weight and absorb all sorts of impacts. As people age, the bones will naturally lose some of their density and the ability to remodel themselves. However, those with osteoporosis have much weaker, more fragile bones.
Most people are not aware that they have osteoporosis until it results in a broken bone. While this disease can make any bones more likely to break, the hips, wrists, and spine are often most affected. The sooner a healthcare provider can diagnose osteoporosis, the less likely an individual is to experience a bone fracture.
What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is most common in people over the age of 50 and is more prevalent in females. Many people with osteoporosis will not experience any signs that they have this disease; this is why it is sometimes called a “silent disease”. However, the most common symptom is the sudden breaking of a bone, especially after a minor accident that would not have caused a break in the past.
Some people may experience small changes in their bodies that signal that their bones are losing density and strength, including:
- Losing an inch or more of your height
- Changes in your natural posture
- Lower back pain
How Can I Keep My Bones Strong as I Age?
Thankfully, some things can be done to prevent weakened bones as you age. These include:
Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, strength training, jogging, hiking, tennis, and climbing the stairs are all great ways to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Eating Foods that Support Bone Health
It is vital that individuals include enough vitamin D, calcium, and protein in their diet daily. This includes low-fat dairy, leafy green veggies, fish, and fortified milk, juices, and grains. Individuals with a low vitamin D level should speak with their doctor about taking a supplement.
Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of weakened bones. Individuals who smoke are encouraged to stop smoking. If you are struggling with quitting, speak to your doctor regarding ways to quit.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Consuming too much alcohol can harm the bones. It is advised that individuals who do drink do so in moderation.
By being proactive, individuals can prevent serious bone fractures from occurring. If you have any questions regarding osteoporosis diagnoses or treatment, please contact your healthcare provider.