Nearly 10 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis and 34 million more are at risk. Osteoporosis is a serious health problem affecting both men and women. Whether you have suffered a fracture or not, the good news is that, you are only a click away from ways to improve your bone health.
The Own the Bone Web site makes it easy for patients and caretakers to connect to educational information. Take advantage of these resources to help support 7 Steps you can take to achieve better bone health, for instance:
1. Remember to talk to your doctor
If you have broken a bone it is important to learn why your bone broke in the first place. Age and gender are not always an indicator of low bone density/mass. Often a fracture is the first indication that you have osteoporosis or low bone mass. You are now two to four times more likely to get another fracture unless you get treatment. It is important to make sure to tell your doctors about the fracture (even after you have healed). Ask your doctors about bone mineral density (BMD) testing, which is the best way to measure the health of your bones. Ask your doctors about the benefits and risks of medications that help minimize bone loss, build bone, and reduce the risk of future fractures.
2. Improve Calcium Intake
Everyone needs calcium to maintain strong, healthy bones and muscles. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that after age 50 both men and women should increase their calcium intake to 1,200 milligrams daily, preferably in 3 divided doses with meals.
3. Increase Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a vital role in helping your body absorb calcium through the bloodstream. For men and women, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D is at least 800 to 1,200 international units (IU).
Learn new exercises or do old ones; either way, performing weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises (like walking and weight lifting) can help improve bone health.
5. Fall Prevention
Falls are dangerous at any age, but coupled with poor bone health they become more hazardous. Get connected to fall prevention and safety checklists.
6. Stop Smoking
Tobacco is toxic to your bones, and makes you more susceptible to low bone mass and osteoporosis. Stop smoking. There are programs, medications, and other stop-smoking methods that can help.
7. Limit Alcohol
Drinking heavily can increase bone loss and the risk of getting a fracture from a fall. Alcohol intake of three or more drinks per day can reduce the density of your bones.
The American Orthopaedic Association developed Own the Bone to help improve treatment of poor bone health. Remember to ask your health care provider if they participate in the Own the Bone program at their hospital or clinic. Own the Bone encourages you, the patient, to take control of your bone health to help ensure a healthier bone health future. Visit www.ownthebone.org/patients/resources for more information.
The information contained on the Web site is not intended to be medical advice. In all cases, the AOA recommends that you consult your own physician regarding any course of treatment or medication.