How to Slow Down the Progression of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens your bone density. It’s important to seek early treatment, because when osteoporosis progresses without intervention, your bones are prone to breaking easily. 

About 44 million US women and men aged 50 and older are estimated to have osteoporosis. In fact, one-third of women over 50 and 20% of men have a fracture caused by osteoporosis during their lives. 

At Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, you have access to National Osteoporosis Foundation ambassador Jennifer Childers, PA-C, and Christy Jones, APRN, who provide expert care if you’re at risk for or already have osteoporosis. 

Your hip, spine, and wrist are the bones most likely to break from osteoporosis. It’s known as a silent disease because you’re not able to detect changes in your bone by yourself. Without a bone density test, you may think your bones are still as strong as they were when you were young, but you’d be incorrect. 

Your bones are constantly shedding old cells and building new cells. However, you may not realize that by about age 30, your bone mass stops increasing. About 10 years later, you start to gradually lose bone mass. However, you can and should take proactive steps to stop serious bone loss and slow an advance of osteoporosis.  

Following are ways you can slow the progression of osteoporosis. 

Eat healthily and ensure adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D

Make sure you’re eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D, two building blocks of bone health. Dairy, fish, fruit, and vegetables are great sources of both. Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and many fruits and vegetables are high in calcium and vitamin D. 

Men and women between 30 and 50 and men over 50 should get 1,000 mg of calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day. 

The loss of estrogen in menopause places women at increased risk for osteoporosis. Women in menopause can lose significant amounts of inner and outer bone; the recommendation for vitamin D increases to 1,200 IU daily. 

Men and women 70 and older should get 1,200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D. 

Avoid beverages that lessen calcium absorption 

Just as there are foods you should eat to help maintain bone health, there are types of drinks that you should avoid because they leach calcium out of your bones. Limit alcohol, because excessive drinking leads to bone loss

Coffee, tea, and sodas with caffeine harm your body’s ability to absorb calcium. If you’re a coffee-aholic, it’s time to cut back. 

Stop smoking 

Smoking is a risk factor for osteoporosis. There’s a direct link between loss of bone density and tobacco use. Start a smoking cessation program if you can’t quit on your own. Your body will thank you.   

Do appropriate weight-bearing exercise 

Starting regular exercise early in life leads to higher peak bone mass. However, it’s never too late to start exercising, and you’ll benefit from it. 

Strength training

Strength training helps to prevent excess bone loss. Using free weights, resistance bands, or doing exercises using your own body weight, like planks, are excellent choices. 

Don’t start this training on your own; you can pull muscles or tendons and hurt yourself. Work with a trainer or physical therapist who can guide you so you can start gradually. 

Weight-bearing exercise 

Simply walking in your neighborhood three times per week for a total of 150 minutes is great weight-bearing exercise for your legs, hips, and spine, and the activity slows mineral loss

Walking on an elliptical machine, biking, or low-impact aerobic exercise are other options. If you have osteoporosis, avoid high-impact exercise like running and jumping, and exercises that compress your spine, like sit-ups. 

Flexibility and balance

Maintaining flexibility and balance is important as you age to help keep you from falling. A stretching regimen and balance exercises like standing on one leg for 30 seconds should be part of your routine. Tai chi is a great way to improve balance. 

Medications

Oral and injectable medications are available to help slow further bone loss if you have osteoporosis. Dr. Michael Hood reviews your medical history and discusses medication options with you. 

Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine or book an appointment through our online portal for expert treatment of osteoporosis and all of your orthopaedic needs.

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