Today is World Osteoporosis Day! You might have heard of the term, but do you know what Osteoporosis is? Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.
Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When viewed under a microscope, healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone. These bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break. If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about a bone density test to give you more information about your bone density.
Some medicines can be harmful to your bones, even if you need to take them for another condition. Bone loss is usually greater if you take the medication in high doses or for a long time. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of any medicines you take and about how they may affect your bones, but do not stop any treatment or change the dose of your medicines unless your healthcare provider says it’s safe to do so. If you need to take a medicine that causes bone loss, work with your healthcare provider to determine the lowest possible dose you can take to control your symptoms.
Here are five ways you can be proactive and help prevent Osteoporosis from occurring:
Exercise regularly. Weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening, and balance-training exercises are best.
Ensure a diet rich in bone healthy nutrients. Calcium, vitamin D, and protein are the most important for bone health. Safe exposure to sunshine will help you get enough vitamin D.
Avoid negative lifestyle habits. Maintain a healthy body weight, avoid smoking and excessive drinking.
Find out whether you have risk factors. Bring these risk factors to your doctor’s attention if you’ve had a previous fracture or have specific diseases and medications that affect bone health.
Get tested and treated if needed. If you’re at high risk, you will likely need medication to ensure optimal protection against fracture.