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Boning up on Healthy Habits
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. Here are some facts to help you understand osteoporosis and how to prevent it:

What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, is a condition characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine and wrist, although any bone can be affected. Although many people think of the skeleton as an unchanging structure, bones are living growing tissues. Bone consists of a strong, flexible mesh of collagen fibers (proteins that form a soft framework) and calcium phosphate (a mineral that hardens the framework). Throughout a person's lifetime, new bone is added to the skeleton and old bone is removed (resorption). During the early years of life, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. As a result, bones become larger, stronger, and more dense until they reach peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength). Peak bone mass tends to occur between the ages of 30 and 35. After this age, however, the bones lose increasing amounts of protein and minerals—more than they can build up—and the bones become thin and porous. The same is true for menopausal women. During menopause, estrogen levels drop. Studies have shown that the female hormone helps protect against bone loss. Without the protective effects of estrogen, menopausal women are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis.

Who is at risk

  • Personal history of fracture after age 50
  • Being female
  • Being thin and/or having a small frame
  • Advanced age
  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Low lifetime calcium intake
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Use of certain medications (corticosteroids, chemotherapy, anticonvulsants and others)
  • Presence of certain chronic medical conditions
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Current cigarette smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol

What steps can I take to prevent osteoporosis?
A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D (Dairy foods provide 75 percent of the calcium in the U.S. food supply. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are especially good sources of calcium. Vitamin D-fortified milk is also a good source of vitamin D--which helps the body use calcium. Broccoli, kale, and salmon with the bones are additional sources of calcium.)

Weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises (The benefits of weight-bearing exercise are site-specific. This means that you strengthen only the bones used directly in the exercise. Therefore, it's a good idea to participate in a variety of weight-bearing exercises. To maintain the bone-building benefits, exercise should be continued on a regular basis. walking, running, lifting weights and playing sports are ideal ways to participate in this type of activity. Although swimming is a good exercise, it is not a weight bearing sport.)

  • A healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake
  • Talking to one’s healthcare professional about bone health, especially if you are entering menopause
  • Bone density testing when appropriate

In This Issue:
Boning up on Healthy Habits
Dr. Nicole's Corner

Recipe: Berry (Barry) Delight Smoothie

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