Preventing Osteoporosis

Woman pouring a glass of milk

Osteoporosis, or low bone mass, is a common condition that affects approximately 54 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Two important nutrients – calcium and vitamin D - help build strong bones and fight against osteoporosis.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how your body works in relation to bone density:

  • Calcium is the most important building block of bones and teeth.
  • Your body does not produce calcium, so it must come from food or supplementary sources. In addition, the body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium.
  • We lose calcium on a daily basis. When you’re not ingesting and absorbing sufficient amounts, the body will pull this essential nutrient from the bones to ensure other areas of the body are functioning properly. Calcium also plays an important role in blood clotting, nervous system function, muscular contraction, and more.
  • Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) makes your bones more likely to fracture or break, with the risk of serious complication in older patients. Many times, people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until they break a bone, begin losing height, or notice curvature in their spine.

With two million bones broken each year due to osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about what activities are appropriate for your specific situation. Some conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, certain types of cancer, eating disorders, and hormone disorders, as well as family history, can increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Preventing Osteoporosis

While not completely preventable, there are a number of steps you can take to help strengthen your bones:

  • Get plenty of calcium in your diet. The best sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, dark leafy greens like kale and bok choy, and fortified juices and cereals. Calcium supplements are another option.
  • Vitamin D is the key. Your body is designed to produce the vitamin D it needs when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D through foods like wild caught fish such as tuna and salmon, milk, and orange juice. Supplements are also an option.
  • Mix weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Dancing, hiking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing stairs, playing tennis, lifting weights, yoga, Pilates, and other forms of exercise will help strengthen your muscles and improve bone health.

Women are encouraged to discuss bone health and concerns with their Capital Women’s Care provider. For your convenience, we offer bone-density, or DEXA, scans in our Bethesda, Frederick, Rockville, and Hagerstown offices.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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