May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month

226May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month and so today I am choosing to write about a disease state that I spend most of my days educating people on. Osteoporosis is disease of the bones and it is a silent, but deadly disease.  In the 5-7 yrs after menopause the average woman loses about 20% of her bone mineral density. 44 million Americans have a low bone density or osteoporosis. Oftentimes osteoporosis is under diagnosed and not detected until bones become so weak that a fracture may occur. Approximately 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis- related fracture in her remaining lifetime.  And once a patient has experienced a new vertebral osteoporotic fracture, studies show that 20% of women will develop a subsequent vertebral fracture within 12 months. A woman’s risk for breaking her hip is greater than the combined risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.  And women who have had a hip fracture are 4 times more likely to have another. The numbers are alarming but there is so much that you can do to prevent and treat bone loss.

thPeople used to think that osteoporosis was an inevitable part of aging. Today we know a lot more about how to prevent, detect, and treat the disease. You are never too young or old to take care of your bones. Good lifestyle habits can help you protect your bones and decrease your chance of getting osteoporosis. And, if your healthcare provider hasn’t talked to you about your bone health, it’s time for you to bring it up!

There are lots of dietary changes and health habits that can help you maintain your bone health. 

1.)    Eat more protein- Studies show that low protein diets are associated with higher risk for fracture

2.)    Eat fruits and veggies- Fruits and veggies have been proven to be natural buffers to neutralize acids from proteins and carbs. If your diet doesn’t have enough fruits and veggies it will (like with sodas)take away calcium from your bones. Research shows that 2 ½ cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit is enough to protect your body from these acids.

3.)    Drink less soda- Increased soda consumption puts patients at higher risk for fracture.

4.)    Stop smoking and limit alcohol to one to two drinks a day.

5.)    Get enough calcium and vitamin D by eating a well balanced diet and appropriate supplementation.

6.)    Exercise!

 

 Obviously the food that you eat can affect your bones. So learning about the foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients that are important for your bone health and overall health will help you make healthier food choices every day. The chart below is from The National Osteoporosis Foundation and gives examples of the different types of food you should be eating every day.

Good-for-Your-Bones Foods

Food Nutrient
Dairy products such as low-fat and non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese Calcium. Some dairy products are fortified with Vitamin D.
Fish  
Canned sardines and salmon (with bones) Calcium
Fatty varieties such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines Vitamin D
Fruits and vegetables  
Collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens and broccoli. Calcium
Spinach, beet greens, okra, tomato products, artichokes, plantains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens and raisins. Magnesium
Tomato products, raisins, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, papaya, oranges, orange juice, bananas, plantains and prunes. Potassium
Red peppers, green peppers, oranges, grapefruits, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, papaya and pineapples. Vitamin C
Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens and brussel sprouts.  Vitamin K
Fortified Foods   
Calcium and vitamin D are sometimes added to certain brands of juices, breakfast foods, soy milk, rice milk, cereals, snacks and breads. Calcium, Vitamin D

 Start taking care of your bones! There is so much that you can do these days to both prevent and treat this disease.  Stay tuned for next week’s blog to learn more specifics around the importance and ways to supplement vitamin d.

 Love yourself to a healthy lifestyle-

Loren Silas

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