Osteoporosis & Bone Health

Osteoporosis occurs when there is an imbalance in the body’s normal process of bone development. Normally bone is constantly breaking down and rebuilding, but when the breakdown of bone occurs faster than the rebuilding, bones can become weak and brittle. This can increase a person’s risk for osteoporosis, and in turn, bone fractures.

Treating osteoporosis

After evaluation of bone density and risk of osteoporosis, a wide-array of services and treatments for osteoporosis may include:

  • Thorough medical evaluation, including health history
  • Fall risk assessment
  • Laboratory evaluation
  • Testing, such as a DEXA scan
  • Lifestyle modification and limiting or eliminating tobacco use, alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Nutrition and dietary supplements, such as calcium and vitamin D
  • Physical activity, including weight-bearing exercise
  • Fall prevention and home safety
  • Certain medications that may help
  • Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

    Some risk factors are preventable. Lifestyle and nutrients play a large role in how high a risk you are for osteoporosis. Preventable risk factors include:

    • Prior bone break after a minor bump or fall
    • Family history of osteoporosis, osteopenia, or fractures
    • History of smoking
    • Excessive alcoholic consumption (more than two drinks daily)
    • Daily consumption of more than two servings of caffeine
    • Female over 65 years old, and male over 70 years old
    • Frequent falls or people at risk of falling
    • Early menopause
    • Low testosterone
    • Height loss
    • Chronic steroid use
  • Exercise and Osteoporosis

    Vital at every age for healthy bones, exercise is important for treating and preventing osteoporosis. Exercise also increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance, which not only leads to better overall health, but can, in turn, help prevent falls and related fractures. Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger.

    As extra insurance against fractures, there are specific exercises to strengthen and support your back:

    • Weight bearing Exercise: The best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind, which forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing.
    • Upper Extremity Exercises: In addition to walking or other weight bearing exercise, it is equally important to strengthen your arms and arm bones to decrease your risk of breaking your wrist or another arm bone.
    • Balance, Flexibility and Strength: You can also significantly reduce your risk of falling by engaging in activities that enhance your balance, flexibility, and strength.
      • Balance is the ability to maintain your body’s stability while moving or standing still. You can improve your balance with activities such as tai chi and yoga, and pilates.
      • Flexibility refers to the range of motion of a muscle or group of muscles. You can improve your flexibility through tai chi, pilates, yoga, and gentle stretching exercises.
      • Strength refers to your body’s ability to develop and maintain strong muscles. Lifting weights can increase your strength.
    • Strength and Muscle Mass: Aging leads to gradual loss of muscle mass, strength and function. As this occurs you are at increased risk of falling, fracture, reduced quality of life, and death.