Millions of people unknowingly live for decades with osteoporosis — a silent disease known as thinning of the bones.
When bones become thin and weak, they can break easily, especially in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Osteoporosis also can lead to:
- Back pain.
- Loss of height.
- A stooped posture.
Many factors can put you at higher risk for osteoporosis, including:
- Age. After age 30, we start to lose bone mass.
- Gender. Women are at higher risk, but it happens to men, too.
- Certain medical treatments.
- Family history.
A simple and painless bone density test can help assess your bone health and future risk. The test measures how dense and strong your bones are.
How to build strong bones and muscles
Early diagnosis is the key to best results.
Childhood and adolescence are the most vital years for building strong and healthy bones. But adults also can take steps to prevent or slow down the bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.
We all start to lose bone mass around age 30 when we reach peak bone density. The thicker your bones are at that age, the longer it takes them to get thin and weak.
The sooner you focus on keeping your bones healthy, the better off you'll be in middle age and later years.
Eat a vitamin-rich diet
A healthy diet is an easy way to give your body the nutrients it needs to strengthen bones and muscles.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential to good bone health.
- Build strong bones and strengthen muscles.
- Slow down bone loss.
- Maintain balance and coordination, which can prevent falls and injuries.
Weight-bearing exercises are best for bone and joint health, such as:
- Weight lifting.
- Brisk walking.
- Playing tennis.
Don't smoke and avoid alcohol
Smoking and excessive drinking increase your risk of getting osteoporosis.
Don't use tobacco at all. And limit your alcohol use.
If you have osteoporosis, it's vital to do what you can to prevent falls inside and outside your home.
- Keep floors free of clutter. Remove throw rugs, loose wires, and cords.
- Tack carpets, rugs, and bathmats to the floor or add a non-skid backing.
- Keep everyday items within easy reach.
- Don't use wax or cleaners that can make the floors slippery.
- Clean up spills right away.
- Install and use grab bars in the bathroom and railings on stairways.
- Wear shoes with nonslip soles.
- Make sure your sidewalks and entryways have good lighting.
- Keep areas outside free of clutter and in good repair.