National Osteoporosis Month

May 19, 2022

Featured Photo

When considering your overall health, it can be quite easy to overlook bone health. Of course, caring for your bones isn’t as easy as doing a couple squats or taking a quick jog after work. In fact, many in the U.S. will simply drink a glass of milk and call the job done. However, strong bones begin in childhood and through good habits and medical attention when needed. Getting enough calcium, vitamin D and physical exercise is the key to improving your bone health — so after that glass of milk perhaps consider a quick workout at the gym.

As we age, our bones tend to weaken over time, especially if you aren’t getting the right amount of nutrition through your diet. In addition, those with a family history of bone disease are more likely to develop bone disease at an earlier age. If one of your parents has had a broken bone, especially a broken hip, this may be a sign that osteoporosis runs in your family and may need early screening.

Osteoporosis is a medical condition where bones become weak and are more likely to break. People with osteoporosis are more likely to break bones, most often the hip, forearm, wrist and spine. These breaks can be caused by minor accidents such as falling or simply by coughing or bumping into something. Osteoporosis also makes it harder to recover from a broken bone and can cause lasting effects including chronic pain. More serious conditions also include deterioration of the spine which provides support for much of the body which may eventually lead to the need for constant care.

Healthy Bones Matter Too

Bones support our entire body and protect our important organs like the heart, lungs and brain from injury. The bones also act as a storehouse for vital minerals we all need in order for our bodies to function properly. Bones are living organs that are alive with cells and flowing body fluids. Bones, like all our other organs in the body are constantly renewed and grow stronger with a good diet and physical activity. Although the amount of calcium that makes up your bones is a measure of their strength, the entire body requires calcium and phosphorous to work, and thus when you are deficient in these the body will begin to withdraw calcium and phosphorous from your bones.

The average American eats too little calcium and not enough physical activity to keep bones healthy and strong. In addition, not getting enough Vitamin D exacerbates calcium deficiencies as Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. Adulthood is the time when bone health should be taken more seriously as by the age of 30 the body stops adding new bone growth. As adults, the body needs 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium depending on age, and at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each weak to maintain healthy bones. For seniors, physical activity and diet with enough calcium and vitamin D become crucial in preventing bone loss.


The bones of the body, although hard and seemingly permanent, are actually living tissue just like skin and hair. Our bodies naturally replace our bone tissue throughout our lifespan which ensures that it becomes stronger and denser. At around age 35, some people may have difficulty producing replacement bone as fast as the old bone deteriorates. This is referred to as osteoporosis. For those who have strong bone mass, the gradual loss of mineral from bones does not usually lead to any long-term health conditions. However, for people who already have weak bone mass, this loss eventually develops into osteoporosis.

Areas of the body where bone mass is naturally thinner, are increasingly susceptible to fracture due to osteoporosis such as the wrist, spine, or hip. One of the first telling signs of the condition is a curbed spine also called dowager’s hump in medical terms. Another clear sign of osteoporosis is a decrease in height which occurs due to loss of bone mass in the spine.

Controlling Your Risk Factors

Like most health conditions, osteoporosis comes with risk factors that can be controlled and as well those that cannot be controlled. The most common risk factors associated with the condition include:

  • Aging
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Certain medications
  • Diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disorder, and other specific health issues
  • Excessive amount of fat around the abdomen
  • Family history
  • Inadequate intake of Vitamin D and calcium
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Underweight or small-boned body types
  • Women past the age of menopause due to a decreased amount of estrogen which is an essential hormone that helps to build bone

Although some of the risk factors cannot be controlled or prevented, for those that can it is important to practice these prevention tips for osteoporosis:

Get your daily dose of calcium: The recommended daily calcium dosage varies by age; however, a general rule is to get at least 1,000 to 1,200 mg per day to help support healthy bone growth. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are a good source of calcium. For those who cannot tolerate dairy products you can still receive calcium by consuming other foods such as soy flour, tortillas, sesame seeds, dried beans, or dark green leafy vegetables.

Monitor alcohol consumption and quit smoking: Quitting smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the amount of bone loss, as these two activities are known to weaken bones.

Reduce your risks for injury: Breaking or fracturing your bones can have long term health consequences as it weakens the bone, and sometimes body cannot restore the bone back to its original condition. Of course, breaking a bone at least once or twice is a normal part of life, however doing your best to avoid injury will ensure that your bone remain strong as you continue to age. Keeping your home free of clutter, and using slip preventing mats, rugs, and shoes to ensure that you are being safe are just some precautions you can take to help protect your bones.

Get daily exercise: Getting exercise and staying fit can greatly improve your bone health while also reducing your risk for other health conditions that can lead to bone loss such as diabetes, or kidney disease.

Get to Know Your Bone Health

For many people, the first sign of osteoporosis is realizing they are getting shorter or that their bones break easily. However, you don’t have to wait for this to happen in order to understand your bone health. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women aged 65 and older be screened for osteoporosis, as well as women under age 65 who are at increased risk for an osteoporosis-related fracture.

A bone mineral density test compares your bone density to the bones of an average healthy young adult. The test result, known as a T-score, tells you how strong your bones are, whether you have osteoporosis and your risk for having a fracture. Although men are less likely to develop osteoporosis, older men may still be recommended by their doctor to take a bone density test, especially for men who break a bone easily or exhibit many of the risk factors of osteoporosis.

Healthy from Your Head to Your Bones

Part of getting older is the increasing risks for health conditions such as osteoporosis, however with proper monitoring and control over your risk factors you can help to prevent this and a number of diseases. It is never too late or too early to consider your risks for developing osteoporosis, and if you’re worried or curious about your bone health status it is always best practice to get your doctor involved in the conversation. By being proactive in preventing osteoporosis you can help reduce your risks for this and many other diseases associated with aging. Whether you are at high risk or low risk for osteoporosis, taking the time to care for your bone health can make a huge impact in your overall health outcomes. So, if you haven’t already taken account of your bones within your health journey be sure to follow these guidelines and talk to your doctor to create a health plan that works for you.