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How to Maintain Bone Strength at Every Age

Did you know that 50% of women over age 50 experience a broken bone due to osteoporosis? Although this condition is common, it’s not an unavoidable part of aging, and there are steps you can take at any age to maintain bone strength and avoid this degenerative disease. 

May is National Osteoporosis Month, which makes it the perfect time to learn about osteoporosis and what you can do to prevent it. At Alpenglow Gynecology, we want to empower you to protect your bone health and overall well-being. 

Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and our entire care team are committed to helping patients in Littleton, Colorado, keep their bones healthy and strong. With our comprehensive line of women’s health services, we help you live your best life at every age.  

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease in which your bone density and quality is reduced, causing bones to become porous and fragile. With weaker bones, your risk of breaks and fractures increases.

The progression of this disease occurs without symptoms or warning signs. Many times, women don’t realize they have osteoporosis until their first bone fracture. The chances of fractures increase as you age.   

The disease can cause disability and significantly detract from your quality fo life. Spinal and hip fractures are particularly concerning and can lead to serious complications, pain, deformity, and even death.   

How can I maintain bone strength?

Peak bone mass is achieved some time in your early 20s. Your body will continue to replace lost bone with new bone material until about age 40. After 40, your body’s remodeling processes begin to slow; however, simple steps can help you maintain a healthy and strong skeleton at every age. 

1. Eat for bone health

A healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of calcium helps keep your bones healthy and strong. Try to consume at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for optimal bone health. You can find calcium in dark, leafy greens, dairy products, and fortified juices and foods.

It’s also important to get plenty of vitamin D. Your body synthesizes vitamin D from the sun, but in today’s modern world, it isn’t always possible to get enough sun exposure to make all the vitamin D you need. Supplements are available, and many food products have or are fortified with vitamin D. 

2. Don’t forget to exercise

Activities like jogging, dancing, and hiking are great for bone strength because your body builds bone in response to stress. Weight-bearing exercises like these help strengthen your bones. But use caution when you start a new exercise program and listen to your body. If an activity causes you pain or extreme discomfort, stop and talk to your care provider about ways to get in weight-bearing exercise without increasing your risk of injury.  

3. Say no to smoking and alcohol

There are many reasons to quit smoking, and your bone health is one of them. Smoking contributes to bone loss, so if you smoke, talk to your doctor about getting help quitting. In addition, drinking too much alcohol speeds up bone loss. Practice moderation, and if you drink, keep it to one alcoholic beverage per day. 

4. Keep your weight in check

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall health and the health of your bones. Weighing too little or too much isn’t good for your bones. Underweight women are at higher risk of low estrogen production, a hormone important in bone growth. And being overweight increases your risk of fracture and injury. If you need help maintaining a healthy body weight, talk to the team at Alpenglow.  

5. Understand your medications 

If you have a chronic health condition, you may need medication to manage or treat it. But some medications have unwanted side effects that negatively impact your bones. For example, steroid medications can interfere with bone remodeling.

Be sure to talk to us about the medications you take. We’ll work with you to discuss your options and ensure you’re taking the optimal medicines for your overall well-being. If you are postmenopausal and haven’t had your bone health assessed, we can arrange for you to get a helpful and noninvasive bone scan.

At Alpenglow Gynecology, we’re committed to helping our patients of every age maintain healthy bones. If you’re ready to learn more, contact our Littleton office or book an appointment online now! 

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