According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, Osteoporosis is to blame to more than 2 million broken bones in the U.S. There are measures you can take to help prevent it.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Breaking a bone is a serious complication of osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when the body loses bone density. Bone density can reduce as we age, leading to fragility and fractures.
Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because one can’t feel bones weakening. Breaking a bone is often the first sign of the disease and by then it’s too late to take preventive measures, which include some lifestyle choices.
Genetics does play a role in the disease, which is out of our control, but it’s not the only factor.
Christian Gaffney, Black Hills Orthopedic and Spine Center Surgeon, says, “Some risk factors that are under our control for example osteoporosis can be linked to excessive alcohol intake, smoking and then also having a sedentary lifestyle and not getting a lot of exercise. It can also be related to diet, so calcium and vitamin D are two very important nutrients for preventing and treating osteoporosis.”
Experts say a healthy diet and regular exercise can help slow or stop the loss of bone mass. The only way to truly diagnose the loss of bone mass is with a screening.
Gaffney says, “The guidelines recommend that all women over 65 have their bone mineral density checked and all men over the age of 70 regardless of any risk factors. And then there are some folks who would want to have the study at a younger age, so if you’re younger than those cut off’s and suffer from a fragility fracture for example you should have a bone mineral density study earlier. And then also some people are taking medicine which can decrease their bone mineral density so some people are taking steroid medicine — not for muscle building but for anti-inflammatory purposes — can have some decreased bone density and should be diligent in making sure they don’t have osteoporosis.”
Gaffney says exercises should include muscle strengthening, aerobic as well as balance and posture training.