May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month: What Will You Do?

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide
  • Did you know that 10 million people are estimated to have osteoporosis and 34 million have osteopenia?  Of the 10 million who have osteoporosis, 8 million are women and 2 million are men.

    Fractures from osteoporosis outnumber uterine, breast and ovarian cancer combined.  Since these bone loss statistics are so high I wonder if we are still under-educated about this medical problem.  We seem to be well aware of the steps needed to prevent and treat cancer and other serious health problems, so why not add osteoporosis education and prevention to that list!  Here's some ideas on awareness and prevention.

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    Risk Factors:

    • Advanced age (older than 65, but individuals of any age can have this)
    • Current cigarette smoking
    • Family history of osteoporosis
    • Caucasian or Asian race (other ethnicities are at-risk too)
    • Low physical activity
    • Low body weight (less than 127 pounds or BMI less than 20)
    • Long term corticosteroid therapy

    Educate, Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis:

    • Get a DXA scan (scan that will tell you how dense your bones are by: PJ Hamel).
    • Find out what your percentage of fracture risk is over your lifetime.
    • Have your Vitamin D and calcium levels checked
    • Be active.  Start a risk-free weight bearing exercise program today.
    • Take the recommended amounts of calcium (1,200 mgs) and vitamin D (1,000 IU's of D3), along with other bone building vitamins, such as magnesium, and vitamin K2; but check with your doctor to see if you are deficient in these first.
    • If you smoke, quit.
    • Limit alcohol consumption.

    Questions for Your Doctor:

    • Which treatment option is best for me?
    • What is my t-score and percentage of fracture risk (FRAX SCORE)?
    • How long should you take bone medications, if you choose this option?
    • How often should you have a DXA scan?
    • Find out if you need to make life-style changes; like changing your diet, reducing stress in your life and implementing exercise and vitamin supplements, without over doing it.

    If you have any of the risk factors for osteoporosis, make an appointment to see your doctor today, your body will thank you for it for years to come.  By learning all you can about bone loss and spreading the word, you'll be going a long way to raise awareness for osteoporosis.

    For anyone who would like to join in the National Osteoporosis Foundations Webinar on "How Strong are Your Bones" on May 27th 2010, follow this link for registration to the NOF Webinar.

Published On: May 11, 2010