Five Steps You Should Take to Help Protect and Strengthen Your Bones
Are you just one strong sneeze or fall away from a broken bone?
For women with serious cases of osteoporosis, this may be a potential reality – yet many of these women do not even know it.1 Osteoporosis is responsible for approximately two million fractures each year in the United States, and it's still often underdiagnosed and undertreated among those who've already had at least one osteoporotic fracture.2
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that often occurs in women after menopause when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both.1 This causes bones to become weak and could lead to a break.1 In fact, one in two women in the U.S. over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in her remaining lifetime.2
Florida alone is home to approximately 4.2 million women over the age of 50, a proportion which is higher than the national average.3 And, each day in the Tampa Bay area, approximately 44 osteoporosis-related fractures occur in women aged 65 years and older.4,*
Here are five proactive steps that you can take to help maintain strong bones and to evaluate your risk for osteoporosis.
- Know your family history. If your parents have had a history of hip fractures, then you may be at risk for an osteoporosis-related fracture.5 All women should know their family history of bone breaks, low bone density and/or osteoporosis.
- Eat bone healthy foods. Calcium and vitamin D play an essential role in building strong, dense bones when you’re young and also keeping them strong and healthy as you age.6 Foods high in Calcium and vitamin D include dairy products, leafy green vegetables and some legumes like chickpeas.7,8
3. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps to build and improve bone strength and is an important part of building and maintaining bone.9 There are two types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing exercises – like dancing or playing tennis – and muscle-strengthening exercises - like lifting weights.9 Still, it is important to remember that regular exercise and eating a healthy diet may not be enough on their own for some women who have osteoporosis, who may require treatment to better manage the disease and help prevent bone breaks.
4. Ask your doctor about a DXA scan. Women 50 or older, and especially those who have broken a bone, should talk to their healthcare provider about a bone density test (DXA) to screen for osteoporosis. 10 A DXA scan – or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry – is a non-invasive and painless test for screening and diagnosing osteoporosis and it only takes about 15 minutes.10
5. Make a bone health plan with your healthcare provider. If you are over the age of 50, you should speak with your healthcare provider about your bone health and risk for osteoporosis.10 Together, you can develop a bone health plan that might include the steps listed above or even treatment to help support your bones and help manage the risk of bone breaks. More information and tools for talking with your doctor can be found at www.TakeChargeofOsteo.com.
*Based on claims data from Symphony Health Solutions; data period Jan-2018 to Dec-2018. Tampa Bay Area is defined as Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg-Clearwater statistical metropolitan area.
1. National Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It? https://nof.org/patients/what-is- osteoporosis. Accessed February 21, 2020.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: a Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2004.
3. U.S. Census Bureau. American Fact Finder: 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. Florida.
4. Amgen, Data on File; 2019.
5. Camacho PM, Petak SM, Binkley N, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American College of Endocrinology Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis-2016. Endocrin Pract. 2016;22(Suppl 4): 1-42
6. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Calcium/Vitamin D. https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/. Accessed February 21, 2020.
7. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Nutrition. https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/nutrition/. Accessed February 21, 2020.
8. University of California San Francisco. Calcium Content of Foods. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/calcium-content-of-foods. Accessed February 21, 2020.
9. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Exercise and Safe Movement. https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/exercisesafe-movement/. Accessed February 21, 2020.
10. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Bone Density Exam Testing. https://www.nof.org/patients/diagnosis-information/bone- density- examtesting/. Accessed February 21, 2020.