Category Archives: Bone Health

5 Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a concern among many people, especially as they age. Osteoporosis is a disease in which bone density and quality decrease. Bones become fragile and porous, increasing the risks of fractures. Bone mass is lost gradually with age, and often there are no symptoms until there is a fracture.

Bones are made of living tissue that changes and grows as we age. Peak bone mass is achieved during childhood and adolescence. After that, bone strength is maintained by a process called remodeling, in which old bone is removed by resorption, and new bone is formed. As adults age, resorption begins to happen at a higher rate than formation, which can lead to bone thinning, or osteoporosis.

While adults do not necessarily build bone mass, following certain lifestyle guidelines can help limit remodeling and resorption so that bone strength is maintained as much as possible. If you are concerned about bone loss, we’ve outlined five ways to prevent osteoporosis: 

1. Choose the Right Sources of Calcium

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has a guide for you to find the right amount of calcium-based on age and sex. The best way to get calcium is through food. Dairy products are the most common foods associated with calcium, and they are a good readily-available source. Dairy is also a good source of protein and other nutrients, making it a good choice. Make sure you check to see if you should be using low-fat options, as those are often recommended in many diets.

If you can’t or don’t eat dairy, then there are other sources. People who eat fish may consider canned fish that include edible bones like sardines. The bones are where the calcium comes from. Vegetarians, vegans, and people who don’t like fish can also find calcium in plant-based foods and fortified alternatives:

  • Green vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, and curly kale
  • Nuts (almonds and Brazil nuts in particular)
  • Some fruits including apricots, dried figs, and oranges
  • Calcium-set tofu
  • Fortified grains, breads, and cereal
  • Fortified beverages including fruit juices, mineral water, and soy drinks

Note that some produce has high calcium content, but are not good sources for it because they also contain “oxalates” which prevents the calcium in those foods from being absorbed. Spinach is the most common example of this. Some dried beans and seeds have “phytates,” which have the same effect. 

Aim to meet your calcium requirements through dietary choices and only supplement if you can’t meet the recommended amount with what you eat. However, if you need extra calcium and it’s not possible to eat enough calcium-rich foods to get enough, supplements are an option. 

Talk to your doctor about the best supplements to use and make sure there are no possible negative interactions with any medications you are currently taking.

2. Get Enough Vitamin D

Getting the right amount of calcium isn’t enough when trying to prevent bone loss. You need to make sure to meet vitamin D requirements in order for the calcium to be absorbed. Exposure to sunlight prompts the skin to make vitamin D3. For most children and adults being exposed to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes each day is sufficient. Certain foods are also sources of vitamin D3, while other plant sources provide vitamin D2, which is closely related. Check this guide from IOF to see how much vitamin D you might need, and where you can get it.

Food sources of vitamin D are pretty limited, especially if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. The best sources are oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), liver, and eggs. In some places, you can also find dairy products and grains fortified with it as well. When it comes to vitamin D supplements, also read labels and consult your doctor about which varieties they recommend (if they don’t prescribe them to you).

3. Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Making good choices for your overall health will usually also benefit your bone health. Along with making sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D, you need to pay attention to general nutrition and have a balanced diet. Get enough protein and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Other vitamins and minerals you need to get enough of include zinc, vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, homocysteine, and B vitamins.

There are also certain things you should avoid to prevent osteoporosis. Caffeine can interfere with calcium absorption and have a “leaching” effect. Some people have linked carbonated beverages to calcium leaching as well, but there is no proof of this. However, limiting soda is a good idea anyway, as other beverages are healthier (like milk for bone health). Alcohol should also be limited or avoided.

Smoking has also been found to be detrimental to bone health, as well as the health of many other organs and systems. To reduce the risk of bone loss, stop smoking and avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke.

4. Get Regular Exercise

You already know that exercise is good for keeping muscles strong, but did you know it is also important to bone health? Getting certain types of exercise can stimulate the cells that build bones, which will prevent bone loss and maintain strength. But you need to make sure you get the right kind of exercise.

Weight-bearing and resistance exercises can help children build bone density and adults maintain it. Weight-bearing exercises focus on carrying your own body weight against gravity. Examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, running, dancing, hiking, tennis, and aerobics.

Resistance, or muscle-building, exercises use objects to create an opposing force for your body to work against. Weights and resistance bands are probably the most commonly used tools in resistance training. Water is also a good resisting force, so doing exercises in the pool an option, with the added benefit of being low-impact.

5. Watch Out for Under-Nutrition

While maintaining a healthy weight is important, some people take dieting and food restriction too far in an effort to be thin and suffer from under-nutrition. Young girls and women are at a higher risk for this. Many weight-loss diets result in deficiencies of certain nutrients, including those important to bone health (vitamin D, calcium, and protein).

If you are struggling with disordered eating or undernutrition, seek help from medical professionals and counselors. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has resources to get you started.

Make an Appointment

Paris Orthopedic and Sports Medicine provides patients in Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma with comprehensive orthopedic services, including managing bone health. If you have concerns about bone loss and ways to prevent osteoporosis, call us at (903) 737-0000 to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online

 

Types of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that many of us will experience at some point in our lives. According to recent statistics from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, worldwide, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 years and 1 in 5 men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.

When we think about osteoporosis, we may commonly associate it with an elderly individual breaking a hip from what seems like a minimal intensity fall, but we understand that this is a possibility due to age and bone health. While the condition may seem fairly straight forward, many aren’t aware that there are four different types of osteoporosis.

1. Primary Osteoporosis

Primary osteoporosis makes up the vast majority of the cases. There are many factors that contribute to its severity such as age, nutrition and activity level. Gender is often also a factor, as primary osteoporosis is more prevalent in women than men.

As bones reach their peak density around age 30, there is a gradual decline over time that occurs if one’s activity level does not help offset the amount breakdown-taking place. This occurs secondary to hormone levels decreasing, mainly testosterone (which promotes bone growth) and estrogen.

While we often associate this type of osteoporosis with the elderly population, it can happen in younger adults as well if activity levels are not enough to stimulate bone growth activity. Additionally, if hormone levels drop secondarily to overtraining or malnutrition, bone breakdown may also start as early as high school such as is seen in conditions associated with the Triad in male and female student-athletes.

2. Secondary Osteoporosis

Secondary osteoporosis is very similar to primary except that it occurs in response to a particular disease, normally one that will affect hormone levels within the body such as conditions that interfere with thyroid health. While primary may be addressed through a gradual change in activity levels and diet, secondary osteoporosis is often treated by hormone replacement therapy and other more extreme measures.

It is important to note that secondary osteoporosis may occur subsequently with primary, but must have an etiological mechanism to be classified as secondary.

3. Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Osteogenesis imperfecta is a condition that is the result of a genetic mutation, affecting roughly 6-7 out of every 100,000 people. It has eight known types ranging from mild to severe and mainly affects bone health, causing conditions to manifest similar to traditional osteoporosis.

The condition will normally exist with other symptoms such as respiratory issues, height defects, and an abnormally small rib cage. Depending on the severity, bones can break often with very little stress applied. Also, in severe cases, the associated respiratory issues may decrease life expectancy in accordance with all of the other comorbidities present.

4. Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis

This pediatric condition has no known cause and usually has an onset just before puberty. In essence, it is brittle and porous bones with no other associated symptoms and will usually resolve without medical treatment after a relatively short amount of time.

If this condition is found to be present, it is recommended to have children monitor their activity or follow their physician’s guidelines for maintaining general health.

When to Seek Help

If you are suffering from osteoporosis, call (903) 737-000 to schedule an appointment with the Paris Orthopedic Bone Health Clinic today. Our experts are committed to providing diagnosis, treatment and education for the primary and secondary prevention of osteoporosis. For more information, you can contact our office or visit The National Osteoporosis Foundation.

6 Signs That You May Have Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk.

Often referred to as a “silent disease,” osteoporosis is a bone disease that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. But, if you can’t feel your bones getting weaker, how are you supposed to know if you have osteoporosis before you have a fracture? Here are six warning signs to look out for:

  1. Receding gums: Like many other health problems, your dentist may be the first to notice early signs of osteoporosis so it’s important not to skip your regular teeth cleanings. If he or she notices receding gums, they can screen for bone loss in the jaw.
  2. Weakened grip strength: Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men due to having smaller, thinner bones and the decrease of estrogen at the onset of menopause. Studies of postmenopausal women and their overall bone mineral density revealed that weaker handgrip strength can be an indicator of lower bone density. Those with stronger grip strength were also less likely to fall and get injured.
  3. Weak, brittle fingernails: Nail strength can be a good indicator of bone health. However, weak and brittle fingernails don’t always mean there is a problem. It could just be the result of swimming frequently, gardening or participate in other activities that may affect your nails.
  4. Loss of height: The most notable symptom of osteoporosis is the loss of height due to compression fractures in the spine. Unfortunately, by the time you notice this symptom your bones have already significantly deteriorated and is considered later-stage osteoporosis.
  5. Back or neck pain: There are many causes of back or neck pain, but regardless of the reason it can significantly impede your everyday activities. Compression fractures of the spine caused by osteoporosis may also cause pinched nerves that radiate out from the spinal cord. You may experience mild tenderness or debilitating pain.
  6. Stooped posture: Compression fractures may also cause slight curving of the upper back, or stooped posture. The medical term for this is kyphosis, but you might commonly hear it referred to as a widow’s hump.

Contact Paris Orthopedics

Osteoporosis can be prevented by building strong bones during childhood and adolescence. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or fear you may be at risk, the team of medical professionals at Paris Orthopedics and Sports Medicine can help.

Our experts are committed to the diagnosis, treatment, and education for the primary and secondary prevention of osteoporosis. Schedule an appointment with the Paris Orthopedic Bone Health Clinic today.