Protecting Your Bones

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Debbie Gregory experienced pain in her thighs and side but couldn’t figure out what was causing it. At 47 years old, she felt she was too young for Osteoporosis but a bone scan revealed otherwise: Debbie had five bone fractures. The cause of her early onset was later attributed to a pituitary tumor but for 52 million Americans, Osteoporosis is simply a part of the aging process.

“The process of osteoporosis is essentially … where the bone is eating up old bone faster than it’s laying down new bone,” Amisha Wallia, Debbie’s physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, says. The disease results in weak, brittle bones which can translate to back pain, a decrease in height, stooped posture, and as was the case with Debbie, bone fractures.

Not a milk drinker? No problem. Turns out, there are things you can do to help fight Osteoporosis or even manage the disease if you already have it. Wallia suggests the following:

  • Prevent fall risks – tuck away chords, watch for uneven rugs/carpeting, and be sure to clean up any loose toys around the home
  • Have vision and hearing checked
  • Increase muscle strength and improve balance
  • Eat at least 200 milligrams of calcium a day – Wallia suggests a combination of supplements and calcium naturally found in foods to ensure you meet this daily requirement

Women are typically at a greater risk of developing the disease, especially those who have gone through or are going through menopause.

“Estrogen is really important for bone health,” Wallia says. “Women tend to lose anywhere from 5 to even 20% of their bones during the para menopausal period.”

Think you could be at risk? Be sure to consult with your physician and ask for a bone scan. For more information, please visit the following links:

http://www.nmh.org/nm/osteoporosis-overview

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoporosis/DS00128

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