This May, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is celebrating National Osteoporosis Month! The goal of this month is to encourage everyone to get to know their risk factors for osteoporosis and make the lifestyle changes needed to build strong bones for life.
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. NOF says that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Over 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, making it a common possibility for many Americans. People with osteoporosis cannot feel their bones getting weaker, and many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone. Usually, you break a bone in the hip, spine, or wrist. So it’s important to find out if you have osteoporosis and (hopefully!) before a break happens. The easiest way to do this is by asking your healthcare provider when you should have a bone density test.
NOF recommends 5 steps to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis and broken bones:
- Get the calcium and vitamin D you need every day
- Do regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises
- Don’t smoke and don’t drink too much alcohol
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your chance of getting osteoporosis and (as mentioned above) ask when you should have a bone density test
- Take an osteoporosis medication when it’s right for you
Like NOF, the Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program (MAOP) offers several Steps… to Better Health, like reliable information and some simple self-management tools to help you live a healthy life! Whether it’s osteoporosis, arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, or another chronic health problem, our physical activity and self-management programs can help you learn valuable information and exercises to prevent and manage diseases like osteoporosis. Click here to learn more about the programs MAOP has to offer.