3 Facts You Should Know About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, bones, Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones become fragile and is often associated with hormonal changes and dietary deficiencies. Your risk of developing osteoporosis is higher if you’re a white woman over 50.

There are many misconceptions regarding osteoporosis. Here are three facts you should know regarding this disease.

54 million Americans are affected

Low bone density is the precursor of osteoporosis. Some 54 million Americans have either low bone density or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Although more women than men have the disease, one in four men over the age of 50 have it. Similarly, though it’s more common in older people, you can develop low bone density or osteoporosis at any age.

Attention to bone health throughout your lifetime is one of the best ways to prevent developing the disease, so although it’s rare for children and teens to have osteoporosis, that stage of life is an important time to implement strategies to keep bones healthy.

Exercise and nutrition matter, but not as much as you might think

There are many risk factors for osteoporosis, and a diet that is low in calcium and a sedentary lifestyle are two well-known risk factors. However, if you drink an extra glass of milk each day and exercise regularly, you may still be at risk for developing this disease.

Here are a few of the other risk factors that could lead to low bone density and osteoporosis:

In addition to the fact that there are many important risk factors along with diet and exercise, the advice regarding diet and exercise is often confusing. Should you take a calcium supplement? What kind of exercise should you do?

Whether or not you should take a calcium supplement depends on your specific circumstances. You should discuss any dietary supplements you’re considering with your health care provider at Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey.

The key to boosting bone health through exercise is to do weight-bearing exercises and adding strength training to your routine. Walking is a fantastic weight-bearing exercise, but by adding exercises designed to build stronger muscles, you’ll reduce your risk of falling.

Osteoporosis is a silent disease

If you’re losing bone tissue, you can’t feel it. All too often, the first indication that you have low bone density is a broken bone. If you trip or fall and break a bone, it could well be due to osteoporosis.

Another common first sign is loss of height due to broken vertebrae -- which may not cause you pain.

There are many myths surrounding bone density testing, but the reality is that the test is simple, painless, and only takes about 5-10 minutes. A bone mineral density test is administered using a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry machine, which is usually called a central DXA.

Although you are exposed to some radiation during the test, a round-trip flight from New York to California exposes you to much more radiation. In other words, a bone mineral density test is safe.

Osteoporosis can impact all aspects of your health and can be extremely painful. Taking preventive steps throughout your life and getting screened at appropriate times protect your bones.

If you have questions about osteoporosis, book your appointment online or by phone at Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey. Our staff is happy to answer your questions and discuss your particular circumstances.

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