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Preventing and Dealing with Osteoporosis, Like a Boss

Precision Orthopedics By Precision
April 25, 2023 | Back & Neck Pain

As a small follow-up to our Preventing and Dealing with Arthritis, Like a Boss article, we felt tackling osteoporosis should be next on our list!

What is osteoporosis?

Often referred to as ‘the silent thief of bones’, osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that silently weakens bones over time, making them more prone to fractures. Osteoporosis occurs when the body is unable to match the rate at which the bones are losing valuable minerals such as calcium. Consequently, the bones become less dense and break more easily; without any noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs.

Numerous studies have shown that osteoporosis affects over 200 million people worldwide, 54 million of whom reside in the US; with a higher prevalence in women compared to men. However, being diagnosed with osteoporosis is not the end of the world! Osteoporosis can be prevented, slowed down, and managed with the right lifestyle choices and correct medical interventions.

We’ve got you covered. 

How can you prevent osteoporosis?

One of the best ways to prevent osteoporosis is to focus on building and maintaining stronger, healthier bones. This can involve a combination of nutrition and physical-fitness focus.

A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is essential for long-lasting bone health. Calcium is the major component of the bone (99%) and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium more easily. So when it comes to bone health, these two are the tag team you should be supporting.

Dairy products, green leafy vegetables and certain nuts (such as almonds) all contain higher amounts of calcium, while vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, fortified food; or even produced by your own body through getting enough sunlight (don’t forget your sunscreen!). Calcium and vitamin D supplements can also be recommended by a healthcare professional. 

A regular physical routine that contains weight-bearing exercises is also key to long-lasting bone health. Walking, jogging, and resistance training are all excellent ways of maintaining bone density; but they also help stimulate bone growth and strength, which in turn reduces the risk of fractures. Of course, before embarking on a new fitness routine, it’s always best to have a chat with your healthcare professional, especially if you have any preexisting health conditions. 

Of course, these are things you can do to help prevent osteoporosis, but there are many things you can avoid doing to help prevent osteoporosis too. Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have been linked to bone density reduction; and should therefore be limited or avoided completely. 

Keeping on top of your bone health with regular bone density screenings is also a great way to prevent and detect osteoporosis. Healthcare professionals can use the results of these screenings to determine appropriate interventions to prevent or manage osteoporosis.

How can you manage osteoporosis?

Of course, we’ve discussed the best methods for preventing osteoporosis, but what are the most effective methods for managing and dealing with osteoporosis? All while reducing overall fracture risks. 

Before diving into this section, it’s important to note that osteoporosis can be prevented and managed by using similar methods. A healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise, while limiting or avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption all play a large role when managing osteoporosis too. 

Why not get out for a walk in the sunshine and kill two birds with one stone?

Several medications have been approved for the treatment of osteoporosis. These medications work by either slowing down bone loss or by promoting new bone formation. Some examples of commonly prescribed medications for osteoporosis include bisphosphonates, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), and denosumab. These medications can be prescribed by a healthcare professional and should be taken as directed to effectively manage osteoporosis as well as reduce the overall risk of fractures.

Fall prevention is a huge way of dealing with osteoporosis too. Certain measures can make all the difference, such as keeping your home safe by removing tripping hazards or by installing handrails on the stairs or in the bathroom. Appropriate, non-slip footwear and comfortable clothing can also help reduce the risk of falls. While regular eye exams can make sure all vision issues are taken care of immediately. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, certain balance exercises can play a huge role in fall prevention. Yoga or tai chi are some examples of new hobbies that will improve balance and stability while strengthening your muscles and bones at the same time. 

If you’d like to read more about fall prevention, why not check out our article Handling Fall Prevention, Like a Boss!

Preventing and managing osteoporosis involves a multifaceted approach that includes various, yet simple, lifestyle changes, potential medical interventions, and fall prevention strategies. Although affecting a large percentage of people, especially those over the age of 60, a healthy and long life can remain greatly unaffected by osteoporosis. 

Take care of your bones and they’ll take care of you!