Tips for Better Bone Health

Eric Stevens, M.D.
Hoag Medical Group

Osteoporosis affects more than 50 million Americans and found in all races and gender. Osteoporosis is not part of the normal aging process and may not necessarily be just age-related. Unfortunately, osteoporosis can lead to debilitating broken bones, however, there are steps you can take to prevent or delay the progression of osteoporosis and optimize your bone health. As an endocrinologist trained in bone disease and overall endocrine health, I recommend following the below simple steps to improve your overall bone health.

1) Maintain a bone healthy diet.

Calcium and Vitamin D are nutrients important for good bone health. It is recommended to have 1000-1200mg of Calcium daily through diet. Vitamin D is crucial to absorbing Calcium and blood levels can be monitored by your physician. Typically, 800-1000 Units of Vitamin D through diet or supplementation.

2) Commit to a weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercise regimen.

Resistance exercises can improve overall posture that can lead to improved balance and decreased risk of falling. In addition, weight bearing exercise can affect bone remodeling to improve and maintain bone density. Your physician can help guide you in determining an appropriate regimen for you.

3) Reduce the risk of falls at home.

Falling from ground level and sustaining a fracture is a very common way osteoporosis is first recognized. “Fall proofing” your home can be an effective way to prevent fractures. Installing grab bars in the bathroom and keeping the floors free of clutter or wires are a few ways to optimize your home environment to prevent falls.

4) Obtain osteoporosis screening when indicated.

Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease meaning it can affect you without causing any outward symptoms. Since there are ways to slow progression and treat osteoporosis, early diagnosis and screening are important to reduce the risk of fractures. I recommend bone density screening tests for all women older than 65 and men older than 70. If you have increased osteoporosis risk such as family history or have already sustained a fracture, osteoporosis evaluation can be done earlier.

By following a targeted diet and exercise regimen along with seeking medical advice when needed, you can best increase your chances of living a life free of debilitating fractures.