5 Lifestyle Changes to Make When You Have Osteoporosis

5 Lifestyle Changes to Make When You Have Osteoporosis

You’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Now what? While the bone disease isn’t reversible, you can take proactive steps to lessen future bone loss and strengthen your bones. 

Our osteoporosis specialist, Jennifer Childers, PA-C, and our board-certified orthopedic surgeons treat many patients who are dealing with osteoporosis

We’re proud that Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee, stands alone in the mid-South in offering an orthopedic specialist who is recognized by the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation.  

We treat your osteoporosis with medications. If you’re low on calcium and vitamin D, we recommend or prescribe a daily supplement. However, you also have a significant role to play in treating your osteoporosis. These five lifestyle changes can prevent further bone loss and future fractures.   

Load up on foods with calcium and vitamin D 

Do you eat a lot of processed foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat, and/or sugar? When your diet is loaded with sugary treats and salty foods like crackers, chips, and processed meats, you’re losing a lot of calcium through your urine. 

An excess of salt and sugar speeds up your loss of calcium. Likewise, consuming a diet with excess saturated fat results in weaker bones. 

Look through your pantry and refrigerator. Make a list before you go to the grocery store, and include foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D. 

Dairy is a great source of calcium, but if you can’t consume dairy, then choose soy milk. Add  dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale, and fish, such as salmon. Choose foods fortified with vitamin D as noted on the label (milk and cereals) along with fish and/or eggs. 

Weight-bearing exercise 

Exercise makes your bones stronger. Having strong bones helps prevent a fracture if you have a fall. You can protect the amount of bone you have by engaging in weight-bearing exercise several times a week. 

While high-impact exercises such as running and jumping aren’t recommended if you have osteoporosis, your bones are going to benefit from regular low-impact, weight-bearing exercise. 

Pick a form of exercise that you can stick with for the long term. Any of the following are good choices: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, along with at least two days a week of muscle-building activity, such as using free weights. 

If you have osteoporosis, you need to know the skinny on biking and swimming. While biking is good for your cardiovascular system, it doesn’t improve your bone density. Much of the research on swimming reaches the same conclusion. 

Limit alcohol 

If you drink alcohol regularly, it’s time to rethink your habit. Studies note that refraining from alcohol aids bone formation. Your body is always making and shedding bone. Too much alcohol can lead to bone breaking down faster than your body can replace it. Try tapering your use. 

Don’t smoke 

You likely know there are a host of reasons not to smoke. Having osteoporosis is yet another one. If you’re a smoker, your body makes less bone than it would otherwise. 

In addition, as a smoker, you’re not absorbing as much calcium as you should from your diet, leading to faster bone breakdown. It’s time to stop smoking if you have osteoporosis.  

Improve your balance and use safety measures to prevent falls 

How’s your balance? Can you easily stand on one leg for 30 seconds? If not, take steps to work on your balance. 

When you have osteoporosis, you’re at high risk of a bone fracture if you fall. Yoga and tai chi are good options to help you work on balance. However, they’re not a substitute for the weight-bearing exercises listed above. 

Inspect your home and take steps to make it safer to help prevent a fall. Install grab bars in your shower and by your toilet. Always use a nightlight. Clear away throw rugs and clutter on the floor.  

Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine or book an appointment through our online portal today for expert osteoporosis treatment.

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