Don’t wait for hot flashes to start thinking about the health of your bones. Once you hit 30 years old, bone loss begins. And here’s a real hot flash: your risk of getting osteoporosis is greater than your combined risk of having a heart attack, getting breast cancer, and having a stroke.
I recently attended a fantastic lecture given by Mary O’Connor, M.D., Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at The Mayo Clinic in Florida. Not only was she a great speaker, she delivered a very important message—loud and clear: YOU CAN FIGHT OSTEOPOROSIS AND YOU, YOUR CHILDREN AND SIGNIFICANT OTHER SHOULD START FIGHTING IT TODAY.
The Scary Statistics
- Only 50% of women are able to regain their pre-fracture abilities after a hip fracture.
- Half of all women over 50 will develop osteoporosis.
- One in four men over 50 will develop osteoporosis.
- One in three men will not survive one year after a hip fracture
- Hip and spine fractures frequently lead to death.
- Bone loss does not only occur in men and women over 50. The University of Memphis men’s basketball team showed a 6.1% decrease in bone density during an intense training period. The loss of calcium in sweat impacts bone loss.
The Prescription is Simple
Get enough Calcium. Get as much as you can through your diet with calcium-rich foods like yogurt, sardines and spinach. Take a supplement to help you meet the recommended daily requirement. Note that growing children need the most calcium while their bones are growing.
Children: 4-8 yrs
Men & Women: 19-50 yrs
Men: 51-70 yrs
Children: 9-18 yrs
Women over 50 yrs
Men over 70 yrs
2000 mg Safe Upper Limit
Take Vitamin D. If you didn’t read my article about Vitamin D, please take a look at it. The benefits of taking a Vitamin D supplement are enormous. According to Dr. O’Connor, EVERYONE should be taking this inexpensive and important supplement.
Perform Weight Bearing Exercises on a Consistent Basis. Lift weights, walk, run or play tennis. Do anything that “stresses” your bones in a good way. Regular weight bearing exercises cause your bones to adapt to the impact of the weight by building more cells which makes them stronger. Without the ability to “bear weight” astronauts come back from an extended flight into outer space with significant bone loss.
Fall Prevention. Making your home as safe as possible is especially important for older individuals. Keep floors clean and all rooms free of clutter, Install handrails in the bathroom where needed. Talk with family members to determine if your house is a “safe” place for you to live.
Along with regular strength training, you can also practice balance exercises which will help prevent a fall. Ask a personal trainer at your gym to teach you a few simple balance exercises and incorporate them into your weekly routine.
As Dr. O’Connor said, “No one EVER wants to rely on a walker to get around.” Be proactive when it comes to the health of your bones and hopefully you won’t have to deal with this devastating disease. If you’d like more information please check out this informative site.
Strong Body, Strong Bones,
Thanks Molly for taking the best notes at the lecture! I followed up with my bone scan recently. Awareness and action helps chart the course!
You don’t know what you don’t know….so good for you for getting your bone scan! Hope the results are good…loved going to the seminar with you. xo
Molly, Just a reminder that physical therapists can be a tremendous resource for individuals who may be experiencing unsteadiness/loss of balance. Therapists can assess balance and provide a variety of exercises based upon the assessment outcomes. Balance is reliant on having adequate range of motion, muscle strength, and function of sensory systems including vision, proprioception, and vestibular system. Thanks so much for addressing this issue.
You are absolutely right Carol. Thanks so much for adding this information to this article. So many people don’t realize the ways physical therapy can help…thanks so much for pointing it out…Stay well! 🙂
Hi Molly. Great topic. I am referring you to a FANTASTIC article about Acid-Alkaline balance for bone health and how soda is a HUGE culprit for bone loss. Don’t let me get on my soap box about diet coke .. but this article should convince people to give up ALL soda. http://www.womentowomen.com/bonehealth/alkaline-bones.aspx
The other website I refer patients to to get helpful information on prevention of bone loss is “betterbones.com”
I have several examples of patients who had severe difficulty with healing fractures who were high soda drinkers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would love to see one of your subjects be the detrimental effects of soda. Love you and have a safe trip back!
Thanks so much Vicki. I will research it and write about it in the not-too-distant future! You convinced me to give up Diet Coke many years ago because you said my muscle tissue felt unhealthy. It is much better now and I have a lot less neck pain. THANK YOU!