Osteoporosis is a term that is very important to understand as you get older. Osteoporosis, according to The Free Dictionary by Farlex, means “porous bones.” This occurs when your bones become fragile due to loss of protein and minerals, especially calcium. This often leads to fall-related injuries and hospital admissions especially in the elderly. This can occur with a minor fall and if the osteoporosis is very severe, it can actually occur with just a sneeze. Women over 50 are more likely to develop this condition.
There are several ways to optimize your bone health as follows:
1. Get the daily recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D. Here is the link from the National Institutes of Health according to age and sex: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter11/articles/winter11pg12.html.
2. Don’t smoke.
3. Limit alcohol intake.
4. Participate in regular weight-bearing exercises as well as muscle-strengthening exercises.
5. Obtain a bone density test to determine your baseline. For women this is at age 65 and men at age 70. (Check with your health plan to find out what your out of pocket expense will be.)
6. If you have risk factors such as family history of osteoporosis, you had a fracture after age 50 or you have had a height loss of ½ inch in a year or 1 ½ inches from original height, discuss your bone health with your physician.