What can be done to strengthen our bones? The orthopaedic experts at The Christ Hospital are glad you asked. World Osteoporosis Day is Oct. 20, and our specialists are using the opportunity to remind the Tristate community about the importance of bone health.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects approximately 10 million Americans. More than 44 million Americans have low bone density, which puts them at a higher risk for a broken bone. Fortunately, there are exercises, medications and lifestyle changes you can make that can positively impact your bone density.
Exercise and osteoporosis
Bone strength is a critical piece of our health as we grow older. Surprisingly, one of the best things you can do to increase your bone density is to establish a regular exercise routine.
“We’re all glued to our computers these days,” says Dr. Sandra Eisele, orthopaedic surgeon at The Christ Hospital. “Activity is really important. Not just walking – muscle and core strengthening is helpful too.”
The National Osteoporosis Foundation [link to: www.nof.org] recommends weight-bearing exercises and muscle-strengthening exercises to build and maintain bone density.
- High-impact weight-bearing exercises include stair climbing, playing a game of tennis or taking a hike.
- Low-impact weight-bearing exercises include taking a walk or using an elliptical.
- Muscle-strengthening activities include weight machines and resistance bands.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or are at high risk for osteoporosis, check with your physician before beginning a new exercise routine. Even gentle yoga or Pilates can put too much pressure on bones with low density.
“Stay within what’s comfortable for you,” cautions Dr. Eisele. “Nothing too quick or too dangerous!”
Diet and osteoporosis
Lifestyle changes include no smoking, eating a nutrient-rich balanced diet and limiting your alcohol intake. Another important lifestyle habit for osteoporosis patients is to take your medication each day as instructed by your physician to maximize the impact it has on your bones.
Our experts also recommend getting ample amounts of calcium and vitamin D every day. Ask your physician for the exact amount to fit your daily nutritional needs.
Medications for osteoporosis
There are two medication categories for treating osteoporosis:
- Antiresorptive agents – used to increase bone strength.
- Anabolic agents – helps your body make need bone and keep it.
Your physician will evaluate your bone density and determine which medication category is the best fit for you.
Scared of falling?
As we age, our risk of falling increases – and falls can mean broken bones.
“As people get older, their balance isn’t as good,” says Dr. Eisele. “They need training and regular exercise to improve their balance and prevent falls.”
The Christ Hospital has specially-trained balance therapists for comprehensive fall prevention support. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about a physical therapy referral if you or a loved one would benefit from balance therapy. Are you at risk for osteoporosis? Meet with one of our expert orthopaedic surgeons at The Christ Hospital Joint & Spine Center. You can also call 513-557-4900 for more information or schedule an appointment online today.