May is National Osteoporosis Month, which means that now is the time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to help protect your bones.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become thin, weak, fragile, and prone to breaking. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk for developing osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is more common in older women. Bone loss typically increases during and after menopause, when estrogen levels drop sharply.
At Virtuosa GYN, Dr. Susan Crockett would like to share some important information with you about this condition. Here are five tips for maintaining bone strength as you age.
Your bones need a variety of nutrients for optimal health. The best eating plan for your bones includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, which contain a wide range of bone-boosting nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Some good sources of these nutrients include dark leafy greens, nuts, citrus fruits, bananas, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and carrots.
Calcium is a crucial building block for bone. And vitamin D helps your body effectively use the calcium in your diet.
Good sources of calcium include:
Good sources of vitamin D include:
Dr. Crockett may recommend supplements to increase your calcium and vitamin D intake.
Just as your muscles benefit from exercise, so too do your bones. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs, dancing, and weightlifting strengthen your bones. Aim to get 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Chemicals in tobacco smoke can harm your bones, and drinking too much alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to use calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone.
Your bones will be better off if you quit smoking and drink only in moderation (one drink daily for women). Talk with Dr. Crockett if you need help quitting.
A test known as a bone density test is the best way to determine whether you have osteoporosis or low bone density. Dr. Crockett can talk with you about when to begin having bone density testing and how often to have follow-up testing. She takes your age, health history, and risk factors into account when deciding whether and when to test.
If Dr. Crockett recommends osteoporosis treatment, she discusses the potential pros and cons of various treatment options with you. These may include medication or supplements of vitamin D and/or calcium. If Dr. Crockett recommends medication, be sure to take it as prescribed.
National Osteoporosis Month is a perfect time to start taking better care of your bones. To learn more or to schedule a bone health checkup, call us at Virtuosa GYN to make an appointment at our San Antonio office.