Osteoporosis is a silent disease that weakens bones and puts women and men at risk for fractures. In fact, recently released prevalence data from the National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates about 9 million adults in the United States have osteoporosis, and more than 48 million people have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones.
Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale and Dr. Jense Benjamin, a family medicine specialist at Benjamin Medical Associates in Mesquite, offer this advice for fighting against osteoporosis:
- Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
Oatmeal, nonfat milk, cheese, yogurt and soybeans are good sources of calcium. Egg yolks are good sources of vitamin D.
Most people meet at least some of their vitamin D requirements by spending time in the sun.
“Fifteen minutes in the sun every day with some exposed skin and no sunscreen is enough to meet daily requirements,” Benjamin said.
Strength training helps maintain bone density.
Women who smoke have lower levels of estrogen, which helps maintain bone density.
There are many medications available to slow osteoporosis’ progression or prevent it. However, they have side effects and patients must work closely with their physicians.
All women approaching menopause need baseline dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, commonly called DXA scans, to determine their normal bone-density levels, and annual scans are needed every year after menopause.
“To take action against osteoporosis, women and men need knowledge,” Benjamin said. “Fractures can be avoided, and my goal is to keep patients active and healthy well into their golden years.”
NOF studied people 50 and older. The study, released at a recent osteoporosis symposium, projects 10.7 million adults will have osteoporosis by 2020, and 58.2 million people will have low bone mass.
Story courtesy of Stephanie Patrick