More than half of persons over 50 in the U.S. are at risk for breaking bones. What we do when we are younger is important for building the foundation of bone density we rely on when we are older. So, while we are still growing, our bone destiny is being formed. Yet our bone density can be assisted at almost any age with exercise and nutrition. Promoting prevention, including awareness of exercise and nutrition, is why each May we observe National Osteoporosis Month.
The Nature of Bones and Nutrition
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most direct contributors to bone density. But a healthy, regular, balanced diet is important overall. Fruits and vegetables every day are recommended for everyone, and particularly for teenage girls.
The Greater Risk for Women
About 80% of osteoporosis cases are among women, and about half of all women over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Women’s bones tend to be smaller and thinner, and the hormone level of estrogen which helps protect bones, declines sharply after women reach maturity.
Some speculate that lower athletic activity when younger contributed to this risk in earlier generations, but the strides made in recent decades for girls’ athletic participation may have changed that somewhat. Nevertheless, the sedentary pull of the digital age is cause for concern among girls, as it is for all of us, with the consequences for girls accentuated, especially as they reach their teens.
And the Risk for Men May Be Unexpected
Compared with the risk of osteoporosis that women face, men might think their chances are good, with “only” one in five cases found among men. But the facts show that men are even more likely to develop osteoporosis than prostate cancer. So, for men, it is well worth “listening up” when we observe National Osteoporosis Month.
Help from the “Easiest Exercise”
An interesting example of prevention was devised by the Foundation as “The Jumping Jack Challenge.” In the challenge, people are asked to post social media videos of themselves, their children, parents, family, and friends doing 10 jumping jacks in less than 10 seconds. One of the easiest exercises to which we are ever exposed turns out to be very helpful for encouraging the growth and maintenance of strong bones.
Again, Awareness Is the Key
As in so many factors that make up our well-being, awareness is what we can’t do without, and awareness is what National Osteoporosis Month is organized to contribute. So, bone mass measurements may be called for, even when we feel just fine. It’s the base on which a program of prevention or improvement can be built. The only way to know if measurement is right for you now is to check with your family physician.
We’d consider it a privilege to help with that. Call us at 843-815-6468.