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Keeping Your Bones Strong to Prevent Osteoporosis

  • Category: General
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Raheemuddin M. Nazeer, MD, Rheumatologist
Keeping Your Bones Strong to Prevent Osteoporosis

If you are a woman who has gone through menopause, you are at risk for osteoporosis. A “silent disease,” osteoporosis affects more than 25 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women.

It is possible to have osteoporosis for years, and not know it until you suffer one or more broken bones from a minor injury. These fractures can be painful and disabling, and eventually may threaten your lifestyle, your mobility, and your independence.

Osteoporosis weakens the bones and increases the risk of fracture, especially at the spine, wrist, and hips. The disease makes bones more vulnerable to breaks, sometimes with only minimal stress such as coughing, or turning over in bed.

Not just a disease of the elderly, osteoporosis usually begins in the years immediately following menopause. As we grow older, we all lose a certain amount of bone, but severe bone loss is known as osteoporosis.

The major risk factor for osteoporosis is menopause. You may have an even greater risk of developing the disease if it runs in your family; if you are thin; have a slight build; have experienced menopause at an early age; or if you smoke, drink too much alcohol, or don’t get enough exercise.

Even if none of these risk factors applies to you, you may still develop osteoporosis. The best way to find out if you have the disease (especially in the early, “silent” stages) is to have a test to measure the density of your bones.

Recently, there have been many advances in technologies that can help your doctor to diagnose, treat, and prevent osteoporosis. Early diagnosis means you can begin appropriate therapy sooner rather than later.

bone density test is a fast, painless, and non-invasive procedure. The testing is based on the same technology as an X-ray, but involves less radiation than you would be exposed to if you flew a plane from Chicago to California. The cost of the test is covered by Medicare and most other insurance plans.

To keep osteoporosis out of a woman’s future, it is important to help bones stay strong throughout life. There are a few basic rules for taking care of your bones, and they apply to all of us. First, make sure to get enough calcium. Throughout life, calcium plays a key role in maintaining healthy bones, but it is particularly vital while bones are still growing. In later life, calcium can slow the loss of bone.

Good nutrition is essential. Eat a well-balanced diet with the proper amount of minerals and vitamins. In addition to eating properly, regular exercise can help increase your bone strength. “Weight bearing” exercise – such as brisk walking, running, tennis and low impact aerobics – are especially good for your bones.

Fox Valley Orthopedics can assist you in determining your risk factors for osteoporosis with the technology to diagnose and treat this potentially debilitating disease. If you have questions, please call us at (630) 584-1400 or click to schedule an appointment to assess your risk.

Remember, it is never too early too late to start taking care of your bones!

Raheemuddin M. Nazeer, MD is a rheumatologist who specializes in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis.