Osteoporosis Awareness Month - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
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William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital


Osteoporosis Awareness Month

Women Veterans learning Tai Chi at Madison VA

Osteoporosis prevention includes weight bearing exercise.

By Lauren L Pyszka, Pharmacist and Gail Gunter Hunt, Women Veterans Program Manager
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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:

  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • 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.


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