Maintaining bone health is crucial for overall health, especially as you age. Osteoporosis is a condition where bones lose their density and become brittle and weak. This can increase the risk of broken bones – not only from falls but even from coughing or sudden movements in some cases.

Osteoporosis is a significant health concern, especially among the elderly population, as fractures resulting from osteoporosis can lead to disability, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality rates. However, osteoporosis is not an inevitable consequence of aging; there are numerous strategies individuals can adopt to prevent or delay its onset.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

The early stages of osteoporosis usually don’t show outward symptoms. However, symptoms may appear as the condition progresses. These include:

• Posture becoming stooped
• Lower back pain
• A loss of an inch or more in height
• Easily broken bones

Eating for Bone Health

Adequate nutrition plays a fundamental role in maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Consuming a balanced diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients is essential for bone formation and maintenance. Calcium is a key component of bone tissue, and inadequate intake can lead to decreased bone density and increased fracture risk. Good dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, tofu, and fortified foods.

Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Sunlight exposure is a primary source of vitamin D, but dietary sources such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods can also contribute to vitamin D intake. Additionally, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, and other micronutrients are important for bone health and should be included in a balanced diet.

Lifestyle Modifications

Just like your muscles, your bones need the work of weight-bearing exercise to stay strong and dense. Walking, jogging, dancing, and strength training, help stimulate bone formation and increase bone density. Balance and flexibility exercises are also important for reducing the risk of falls, which can lead to fractures in individuals with osteoporosis.

Avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption is essential for maintaining bone health. Smoking has been linked to decreased bone density and increased fracture risk, while alcohol intake can increase calcium loss in bones.

Screening and Early Intervention

Early detection of osteoporosis is essential for implementing preventive measures and reducing the risk of fractures. Bone density testing, such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans, can assess bone density and identify individuals at increased risk of osteoporosis. Screening guidelines recommend DEXA scans for women over age 65 and men over age 70, as well as younger individuals with risk factors for osteoporosis.

Grand Junction Diagnostics, a division of Primary Care Partners, offers DEXA scans to our patients. Talk to your PCP provider today to see if a DEXA scan might be beneficial for you.