Osteoporosis affects 10 million adults in the United States, and another 44 million have low bone density. Many people are unaware they have osteoporosis or low bone density until a bone breaks. And while older age puts you at risk, there are steps you can take to lower your risk.
Board-certified internal medicine specialist Sam Morayati, MD, and the team at Burlington Medical Center have the tests necessary to detect osteoporosis and osteopenia (low bone density). Dr. Morayati uses the latest treatments to slow bone loss and keep your bones as healthy as possible.
It’s important for patients to take a proactive role in their health. Learning about steps you can take to protect your bones is a wise step. In this blog, our experts discuss four things you can do right now to protect against osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Getting enough of the vital mineral calcium, and the steroid hormone Vitamin D is your first line of defense against osteoporosis and osteopenia. Your body only gets calcium from the foods you eat, so if you fail to get enough of it from food or supplements your bones can get weak.
Calcium is essential for maintaining bone density. Your body is constantly using calcium for bodily functions and when you don’t get enough, the body takes it from your bones where it’s stored.
Vitamin D is necessary for your body to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, your body can’t absorb the calcium it needs, even if you’re getting enough calcium in your diet. Dairy foods are a rich source of calcium, while vitamin D is found in fatty fish and fortified cereals. Sometimes dietary changes aren’t enough. Talk to your doctor to determine whether you should supplement calcium and vitamin D.
Weight-bearing exercise is shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and improve bone density. Regular weight-bearing exercise such as stair climbing, walking, and low-impact aerobics strengthens bones. If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, weight-bearing exercise can help to minimize mineral loss, and in some cases increase your bone density.
High-impact weight-bearing exercises like jumping and running are even more beneficial at boosting bone strength. This benefit fades if you stop exercising regularly. It’s recommended that you engage in weight-bearing exercise at least three days a week to help keep your bones strong.
When it comes to bone health, what steer clear of is just as important in maintaining strong bones. Certain lifestyle habits are bad for your bones, such as:
Discuss it with Dr. Morayati if you need help adopting healthier habits.
Regular screenings play a crucial role in preventive health. A bone density test provides insight into your bone health and can diagnose osteoporosis or osteopenia before a fracture occurs. A dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machine works by sending very low-dose electromagnetic waves that your bones absorb.
Because bones absorb electromagnetic waves differently than soft tissue, the resulting DXA image provides information about the mineral density of your bones. A quick and painless DXA screening detects low-bone density, allowing you and your doctor to act quickly with lifestyle changes and medication if necessary.
If you’re concerned about your bone health, Dr. Morayati can perform a bone health evaluation. To learn more, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Morayati at our Burlington, North Carolina office to discuss your thyroid health. Here at Burlington Medical Center, we offer in-person and telehealth appointments.