May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month
There is a reason why the National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month is celebrated in the United States in May. According to the estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in two people over 50 in the United States will have higher chances of suffering from fractures because of osteoporosis by the year 2020. As baby boomers hit retirement, especially women, raising awareness for osteoporosis and prevent methods has become more important than ever.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
The bones in your body are living tissue and are constantly undergoing changes. If you are young, your bones will be stronger and denser. However, once you reach 35, the bone building process in your body slows down and is unable to compensate for the bone loss. If you have strong bone mass, the slow loss of minerals from your bones will not be a major concern. On the other hand, if your bone mass is low, your bones will fracture very easily. If this happens, you will be diagnosed with osteoporosis.
There are no symptoms of this condition and it is usually painless. The condition is diagnosed when you experience a fracture. Other signs of osteoporosis are visible curvature of the spine and decrease in height due to bone loss in the spine.
If you are at risk of developing this condition, professionals suggest a bone mineral density test. This allows early diagnosis of the condition and subsequent steps can be taken to slow down the progress of bone loss.
There are many risk factors for the development of osteoporosis. They include:
- Low estrogen levels, especially in postmenopausal women
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family prevalence
- Vitamin D and/or calcium deficiency
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol abuse
- Excess abdominal fat
- Being underweight
- Certain diseases, including thyroid disorder, diabetes and liver disease
- Taking certain medications that cause bone loss
The good news is, osteoporosis can be prevented. Here are 5 steps you can take to prevent bone loss.
- Consume Calcium: Make sure your diet includes adequate amounts of calcium. A diet rich in dark leafy veggies, sesame seeds, dairy products, soy flour and tofu is a wonderful tool. Look for foods, such as cereals and orange juice, that are fortified with calcium and Vitamin D. You also can take calcium supplements, which you can pick up from your community pharmacy.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: If you are underweight, your risk factor is higher. Your risk is also higher if you have too much abdominal fat. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.
- Be Physically Active: When you do the right exercise, it strengthens your muscles, which protect your bones. Exercise also promotes growth of bones. Speak to your doctor and develop an exercise program that is right for your age and health. Exercises, such as light weight-bearing exercises, jogging, swimming and aerobics, are considered great for preventing bone loss.
- Take Medications: If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your healthcare provider will put you on medication that will slow the progress of bone loss. You can get these medications from your community pharmacy and take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
- Quit Tobacco and Alcohol: Both tobacco and alcohol can weaken your bones. Give up tobacco and alcohol to prevent bone loss and a host of other health issues.
This May, use National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month to educate yourself and loved ones about this condition. Resolve to make healthier lifestyle choices to ensure you keep your bones healthy and strong. While lost bone mass cannot be replaced, the measures to slow down bone loss rest in your hands.
Whether you’d like to get general advice about Osteoporosis prevention, pick up a calcium supplement or fill a prescription, we look forward to working with you soon! Visit Chancy Drugs to speak with a pharmacy staff member today.