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It’s World Osteoporosis Day: Time to Talk About Bone Health

Together, with the International Osteoporosis Foundation, we are recognizing World Osteoporosis Day to build awareness around the importance of bone health and strength.

What is Osteoporosis?

First, let’s start with defining Osteoporosis. Literally translated, it means “porous bone.” It’s defined as a condition where bones become thin and lose their strength. As they become less dense, their quality is reduced, which can lead to broken bones. Those breaks can cause pain, disability, and make everyday activities a challenge.

In the United States, osteoporosis and low bone mass are considered a major public health threat for nearly 54 million people — referring to men and women over the age of 50. A breakdown of those numbers show that of those at risk for osteoporosis, 10.2 million people have it. Of those, 80% are women. Treating osteoporosis is also costly. The economic burden is estimated at $17 billion and that was in 2005.

Are You at Risk?

Osteoporosis is common. One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will be affected by a broken bone due to osteoporosis. While it’s a serious condition, it is treatable and preventable with a healthy diet and lifestyle. There are some common risk factors. They include:

  • Women have a higher risk of getting it, especially after menopause or a hysterectomy
  • Family history
  • Age
  • Certain medications and prescription drugs have side effects linked to osteoporosis
  • Some illnesses can weaken bones, such as rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, chronic kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, cancers, and more
  • Smoking and drinking
  • Low BMI and poor nutrition
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Prevention Starts with Nutrition

Physical activity is key to maintaining good overall health. As we all know, nutrition is too, but are you eating for good bone health? The three biggest nutrients for building strong bones are calcium, vitamin D and protein. Check your daily recommended allowances and more with the Nutrition and Bone Health Throughout Life Fact Sheet from the International Osteoporosis Foundation. You can also take their Osteoporosis Risk Check to learn more about the state of your health. It is not a substitute for medical advice though.

If you’re concerned about your bone health, schedule an appointment with a Beacon back and spine specialist to find out what’s going on, and we’ll work with you to develop a care plan around your unique needs.