But whatever your age, there are things you can do to minimize your risk. Many chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or hyperthyroidism as well as some medications including steroids or blood thinners can also lead to low bone mass. If you have one of these conditions or require medications that can affect your bones, it is even more important for you to reduce any controllable risk factors and seek medication management when needed. This includes making sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D either from your diet or with supplements , as well as doing weightbearing exercise such as walking and light strength training, all of which are needed to build strong bones.
The average American diet provides less than mg per day of calcium. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends you get 1,, mg every day, depending on your age and gender. You can get your daily recommended intake of calcium and vitamin D by eating more dairy products such as cheese, butter, cream, fortified milk, yogurt and ice cream. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens and bok choy Chinese cabbage are other good sources of calcium.
Vitamin D is also found in fish, oysters and fortified cereals. Weightbearing exercise is important, and beginning a strength training program can be simple. Starting off with a difficult routine is associated with a higher dropout rate.
The primary goal is to increase physical activity. Walking around the block, or taking longer walks at the local shopping mall, is a good start. Exercise with hand-held weights or resistance training weight lifting machines to build strength. Common household items like small canned goods can be used instead of hand weights.
Swimming, although not a weightbearing exercise, is also an excellent choice as part of an exercise program.
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Ask your health care professional to prescribe an exercise program that matches your abilities. Many medications are available for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, including estrogen, alendronate, residronate, reloxifene and calcitonin with new medications currently being developed. Your health care provider can help determine the correct treatment plan for you and prescribe any medications if necessary. The key to the treatment of osteoporosis is preventing or slowing bone loss.
Assess your risk factors and discuss with your health care provider appropriate steps for you to take. Everyone will benefit from a healthy diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D, cessation of smoking, low caffeine and alcohol intake and an exercise program appropriate to your age and health status. Diagnosis can now be made quickly and conveniently with a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry DEXA scan.
Skeletal System - Definition, Function and Parts | Biology Dictionary
A plain X-ray examination is not sensitive enough to detect osteoporosis until a substantial amount of bone has been lost. Your results are compared to the average score for a young adult, regardless of your age. This is called a T-score and can be used to predict your fracture risk. A low T-score means your bones are fragile. A T-score of Radiographic Assessment for Back Pain. Radiographic Assessment for Spinal Disorders.
Pay attention to vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. The recommendation increases to IUs a day for adults age 71 and older. Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as salmon, trout, whitefish and tuna. Additionally, mushrooms, eggs and fortified foods, such as milk and cereals, are good sources of vitamin D. Sunlight also contributes to the body's production of vitamin D. If you're worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.
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If you're concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, including a recent bone fracture, consult your doctor. He or she might recommend a bone density test.
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The results will help your doctor gauge your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss. By evaluating this information and your risk factors, your doctor can assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
What to know about osteoporosis
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By Mayo Clinic Staff. References Bone health for life: Health information basics for you and your family. Accessed Jan.