Break out the vitamin D
You’re having breakfast with friends. Shake your vitamin D supplement out of the pill pack (you brought it, right?), and start a conversation about “the sunshine vitamin.” Most women understand that calcium is good for your bones; but fewer realize the critical role of vitamin D in calcium absorption. Educate them – as you enjoy your eggs and toast.
“Hey, who’s had their DEXA?”
Are you a Boomer? As we move into our 60s, it’s important to ask your doctor about a baseline DEXA scan: a test that reveals bone density and strength.
While we older women have been getting mammograms and pap smears for years, a DEXA scan is something new. The current recommendation for DEXA scans is to begin at age 65 – unless family history or other underlying factors increase osteoporosis risk, in which case a baseline scan should be done earlier.
Ask your older friends, “Have you had your DEXA yet?” If the answer is a quizzical look – educate them.
“Name one symptom of osteoporosis.”
Pose this question to a group of your friends, and I’ll bet you’re met with a wall of blank faces.
Which isn’t unexpected; osteoporosis is often labeled “silent,” and for good reason: its symptoms are usually non-existent; at best, they’re subtle.
You may exercise, eat healthy, feel great, look great… and still be well on your way to osteoporosis. Let your friends know that the first step in fighting this disease is to be aware of their own personal osteoporosis risk factors.
“You look great! But… how are your bones?”
As women, our culture teaches us from childhood on: thin is better. Never mind natural body type, ethnicity, or culture; all of our societal role models are thin. Thus, as we age, it’s natural to admire those of our friends who’ve managed to retain their “girlish figure.”
But older women who are small, thin, with a “slight” figure, are at increased risk for osteoporosis. In fact, a thin frame is one of the chief risk factors for osteoporosis in older women.
Gently ask your friends who fit this picture: have you spoken to your doctor about osteoporosis?
National Osteoporosis Foundation NOF Fast Facts (http://www.nof.org/)