Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to fragile bones and increases the risk of a wrist, hip, or spine fracture. Screening tests, which are noninvasive and painless, measure bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip, spine, wrist, or heel. The diagnosis of osteoporosis is made when a person’s BMD is substantially less then the average BMD for young adults. A related condition called osteopenia, or low bone mass, is less severe but still indicates low BMD. It has been estimated that as many as 10 million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and another 34 million have osteopenia. Although commonly thought of as a problem for women, osteoporosis also affects men. Of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about 2 million are men. A number of factors have been identified that contribute to an individual’s risk of developing osteoporosis. Some of those risk factors cannot be changed, while others, such as those that involve diet and lifestyle, are modifiable. Orthopedics and Traumatology Specialist Assoc. Dr. Çağatay Öztürk says that it is possible to prevent osteoporosis with the right diet. The foundation points to some strategies women can take to maintain muscle strength, prevent bone loss or manage osteoporosis: Exercise: Should get 30 to 40 minutes of physical activity, three to four times each week. This activity should include a combination of resistance training and weightbearing exercise.
• Eat a bone-healthy diet: Should eat foods rich in dietary calcium and protein, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Getting enough vitamin D through sunlight or a supplement is also important.
• Kick bad habits. To protect bone health, stop smoking. Drinking heavily can also have a negative effect on bone health. It’s also important to avoid being too thin. Women who are underweight are at higher risk for osteoporosis than those who are a normal weight.
• Know your risk factors. It’s essential to get educated about osteoporosis and learn if you are at greater risk for developing the disease. Common risk factors for osteoporosis include going through menopause before age 45; use of medications known as glucocorticoids; or having rheumatoid arthritis or malabsorption disorders, such as celiac or Crohn’s disease. Women who have broken bones in the past or have a family history of osteoporosis are also at greater risk for the disease.
• Check your bone health. Once women reach menopause, they should visit their doctor to have their bone health and risk for fracture assessed. Women who are diagnosed with bone loss should follow the treatment regimen prescribed by their doctor.