If you’re worried about osteoporosis, you’re not alone. More than 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, a deterioration of bone tissue that leads to low bone mass and a greater risk of fractures.
Both men and women can develop osteoporosis, but women are more likely than men to develop the disease.
At Beth and Howard Braver, MD, in Aventura and Hollywood, Florida, our providers are dedicated to providing our patients with information about this debilitating condition. Education begins by understanding the risk factors for osteoporosis and steps to mitigate it.
What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?
Bones are in a constant stage of regrowth. As old bone cells die, new ones grow in their place in a process called remodeling. This helps keep your bones strong and dense.
We can predict your likelihood of osteoporosis by evaluating your bone strength. Here’s a closer look at how we use bone density to assess your risk, and at some other common risk factors of the disease.
Low bone density
Your bone mass is what we call your bone strength. A measurement of the amount of minerals like phosphorus and calcium allows us to predict your bone mass.
Your bone mass is at its peak when you’re in your late 20s. The higher your bone mass at this time, the lower your risk of developing osteoporosis, and vice versa.
Older age or menopause
Your body loses bone material quicker than it can replace it when you’re in your 30s. This causes your bones to be less dense and increases your risk of osteoporosis.
Menopause increases women’s risk of osteoporosis. The hormonal changes associated with menopause increase the rate of bone loss.
Your diet affects your whole health, including your bone health. If you have a diet that lacks calcium and vitamin D, your risk of osteoporosis increases.
To reduce your risk, stay away from processed foods and choose a calcium-rich diet with healthy, whole foods. Increase your consumption of dark leafy greens, tofu, broccoli, and almonds. These help you improve your intake of vitamins and minerals.
When you’re inactive, your body stops spending energy on building a strong skeleton to support your activity and weight. That means that being sedentary or mostly sedentary is one of the worst things for the health of your bones and your overall health.
When you exercise and are active, your muscles pull against your bones and your body works to create more bone material. Doing weight-bearing exercises regularly helps reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Tobacco or alcohol use
Smoking reduces your body’s ability to absorb calcium and other vitamins and minerals, more than doubling your risk of developing osteoporosis. Drinking alcohol increases your risk as well.
To reduce your risk, quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.
Can you help me lower my osteoporosis risk?
As soon as we identify your risk factors for the disease, you can begin treatments. If we diagnose you with the condition or believe you’re at risk, there are several steps you can take to slow the progression of the disease and manage any pain it causes.
Treatments to lower osteoporosis risks usually start with lifestyle changes. For example, if you’re a smoker, quit as soon as possible. And, as we mentioned above, reduce your alcohol consumption and change your diet to include more calcium-rich foods.
We create a personalized osteoporosis treatment plan that may include vitamin D and calcium supplements, as well as regular exercise with weights. In some cases, we may prescribe medication.
Some medications support healthy bone mass and reduce your chances of getting fractures. Others support new bone cell growth as well as the rebuilding of bone.
If you’re ready to learn more about osteoporosis and the risk factors for this condition, we can help. Schedule an appointment at our Aventura or Hollywood, Florida, office. You can also ask us about telemedicine.