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Health & Disease Prevention

Preventing Osteoporosis

Ten million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk of osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). Osteoporosis often is called the “silent disease” because bone loss occurs without symptoms.

Though there are treatments for osteoporosis, there is currently no cure. That’s why prevention is so very important. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a combination of these five steps to help prevent osteoporosis:

1. Get the calcium and vitamin D you need every day. Some great sources include dairy products, spinach, kale, okra, collards, soybeans, and white beans. Other good sourced include foods that are calcium-fortified, such as orang juice, oatmeal and breakfast cereal.

2. Do regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Examples include walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, stair climbing and gardening.

3. Don’t smoke and don’t drink too much alcohol. Smoking increases rates of bone loss and the chance of fracture and consuming more than two alcoholic drinks a day may decrease bone formation.

4. Talk to your healthcare provider about your chance of getting osteoporosis and ask when you should have a bone density test. Screening for osteoporosis is recommended for all women over age 65. Some guidelines also recommend screening men by age 70, especially if they have health issues likely to cause osteoporosis. If you have a broken bone after a minor force injury, such as a simple fall, bone density testing may be important to assess your risk of more fractures.

5. Take an osteoporosis medication when it’s right for you. Osteoporosis can’t be cured but with medicine and lifestyle changes you can slow or even stop it