William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
Osteoporosis Awareness Month
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weaker and more fragile, putting you at a greater risk to have a bone fracture. It affects both women and men and becomes more common as we age. Osteoporosis can be prevented and treated early, before a fracture even occurs. Recommendations for prevention of osteoporosis start at age 50, but it is never too early to start healthier lifestyle practices. Important prevention techniques include:
- Calcium supplementation: 1200mg/day (both dietary and supplemental sources). Note: our body only absorbs 500mg calcium at a time (spread tablets out throughout the day).
- Vitamin D supplementation: 800-1000 units/day
- Regular weight bearing & muscle strengthening exercises
- Avoid tobacco products & excessive alcohol consumption
Foods that are high in calcium include:
- Cottage Cheese
- Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens
- Sardines and Salmon
Your provider may recommend a bone mineral density test (DEXA scan) for you to determine if any bone loss has occurred. Most provider's begin testing the bones at age 65 (women) and age 70 (men); they may choose to start testing the bones earlier if you have other risk factors or if you have had a fracture in the past. Treatment with prescription medications normally occurs as a result of how much bone loss a person has experienced. After your provider has tested your bones' density, it can be determined how likely it is that you may have a fracture in the next 10 years using a special formula. Talk to your provider about ways to help protect your bones and reduce your risk of a fracture related to osteoporosis.