Make No Bones About It- Know Your Risk for Osteoporosis

Make No Bones About It- Know Your Risk for Osteoporosis

Make No Bones About It- Know Your Risk for Osteoporosis

Your bones may support you, but they need your help to stay healthy. About 54 million Americans have low bone mass. That puts them at greater risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which your body loses bone mass or doesn’t make enough bone.

The Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation leaving site icon says studies show about one in two women – and up to one in four men 50 and older – will break a bone due to osteoporosis. It’s sometimes called the “silent disease” because often there are no warnings in the early stages of bone loss. Only once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have symptoms that signal the disease.

The Mayo Clinic leaving site icon says these signs can include:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed spinal bone
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
Prevent or Delay Loss

When you’re young, it’s simpler to protect your bones. Start with these tips:

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid smoking or drinking too much alcohol

Fractures can occur in any bone, but happen most often in bones of the hip, vertebrae in the spine and the wrist, says  the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. leaving site icon Take steps to help prevent the disease and breaks by:

  • Staying physically active by taking part in in weight-bearing exercises such as walking
  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation
  • Never smoking
  • Taking medications to help prevent fractures in people who have osteoporosis, if recommended by your doctor
  • Eating a nutritious diet rich in calcium and vitamin D to help keep good bone health
Talk to Your Doctor

Keep in mind that all adults naturally lose bone mass as they age. But some people have a greater risk for loss than others. This includes people who take medications known to cause bone loss, along with individuals who have a family history of hip fractures and other breaks.

If you have  risk factors for osteoporosis, talk with your doctor about prevention strategies that may be right for you. Your doctor may suggest a bone density test to see how your bones are doing.

Sources: What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It?, leaving site icon Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation, 2022; Osteoporosis Overview, leaving site icon National Institutes of Health, 2022; Osteoporosis, leaving site icon Mayo Clinic, 2021.

Originally published 8/3/2015; Revised 2017, 2022