“Silent disease” – That’s a name attached to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis commands this name because bone loss occurs without symptoms, particularly without pain. People may not know they have osteoporosis until after a fracture occurs.
Keep the silent disease quiet with these 5 key steps to optimize bone health:
- 1) A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D: Got calcium? Make up for age-related bone loss with food rich in protein, calcium and Vitamin D. The best food sources are low-fat dairy, but other sources include leafy greens, sardines, and fortified cereals and juices. Supplements may also be used, but discuss with your physician for proper dosage.
- 2) Benefit from the sun: If you don’t think you are getting enough vitamin D, your body makes Vitamin D on its own when sunlight touches your skin. Experts recommend 15 minutes of sun exposure on half your body, depending on cloud coverage and skin tone.
- 3) Weight bearing and resistance training exercises: Walk – walking is one of the simplest and best ways to improve your bone density. Just as a muscle gets stronger and bigger the more you use it, a bone becomes stronger and denser when you use it. A physical therapist can design an appropriate exercise program for your individualized needs.
- 4) A healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive drinking: Excessive drinking can negatively impact bone health, and experts think it may be linked to its toxicity on the bone-forming cells. As with alcohol, the nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes may harm your body’s bone making cells.
- 5) Bone density testing and medication when appropriate: Specialized tests called bone mineral density (BMD) tests can measure bone density in various sites of the body. A BMD test can detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs and predict chances of fracturing in the future. It can also determine the rate of bone loss and/or monitor the effects of treatment
If you have questions about how physical therapy can help someone you care about with osteoporosis, please contact us.