The month of May is National Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month, a month dedicated to promote good bone health through the prevention, early detection and treatment of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become extremely brittle from the loss of tissue. The body is constantly absorbing bone tissue, and then creating new tissue. With osteoporosis, the body’s new bone creation does not keep up with the absorption of the old tissue. Unfortunately many people show no symptoms until they break a bone. Once osteoporosis is diagnosed through a Duel Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) exam, there is unfortunately no cure; however, treatment such as medications, a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercises can help.
With its common diagnosis (more than 3 million cases in the U.S. per year) and lack of cure, it is critical to understand the risk factors and to take preventative measure to promote healthy bones at an early age.
The characteristics that can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis that you cannot control include:
- Being a female. Approximately 80 percent of osteoporosis cases are in women.
- Aging. As you grow older, your bones grow older too meaning that your chance of developing osteoporosis increases with your age.
- Having a small body frame. People with a thinner, smaller frame have less bone mass to begin with, which puts them at greater risk.
- Your ethnicity. Research has shown that people who are Caucasian or of Asian descent are at greater risk for developing this condition.
- Family history of osteoporosis. The disease is genetic, meaning that if your family has a history of osteoporosis, you are at greater risk.
Unfortunately you cannot control the previous risk factors listed, but there are risk factors for osteoporosis that you can control. These include:
- A poor diet. A diet that is lacking in both calcium and Vitamin D can lead to weaker bones. To increase your body’s calcium intake, try incorporating these items into your daily diet: low-fat dairy products, cereal, soy milk, tofu, salmon, kale and broccoli. Foods that provide your body with sufficient Vitamin D include tuna, mackerel, salmon, eggs, cheese, soy milk and orange juice.
- Lack of exercise. An inactive lifestyle can greatly increase your chance of developing osteoporosis. Performing these simple exercises regularly can help build and maintain your bone mass: dancing, hiking, running, aerobics and climbing the stairs.
- Smoking cigarettes and excessively consuming alcohol. Research indicates that smoking cigarettes can lead to loss in bone bass and increase the risk of fractures. Smoking can also cause a change in one’s hormones, which can alter the proper functioning of bone cells. An excessive amount of alcohol can also contribute to the weakening of bones, especially when paired with a pour diet or lack of exercise.
Taking control of these risk factors and eliminating them from your lifestyle can help make up for the ones that are out of your control.
At Maryville Imaging, we offer DEXA testing, also known as bone density testing. A DEXA exam measures the amount of calcium in your bones and determines if osteoporosis is present. Women who have entered menopause and suspect menopause bone loss and men who suspect they have low bone density should schedule an appointment for our bone density test procedure. If you are a woman over 65 years old, it is especially important for you to have your bone density tested every two to three years to detect if osteoporosis is present.
Bone density testing is the only procedure that can diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs. Protect your bones; call us today at 618-288-4929 to schedule your bone density test.