“By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women, compared to rates in 1990.”
~ International Osteoporosis Foundation
Osteoporosis is a disease that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 10 million Americans have Osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, which places them at an increased risk for osteoporosis. The likelihood of a woman suffering from osteoporosis is greater than that of a heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined. Likewise, the International Osteoporosis Foundation reports 1.4 million Canadians are affected by osteoporosis and approximately 75 million people in Europe, the USA, and Japan.
One of the biggest myths circling osteoporosis is that it’s an exclusive concern of those holding an AARP card. This is false. The prevention of osteoporosis starts at a young age. Diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle play a pivotal role in preventing and managing this debilitating disease, and those healthy choices need to start long before grandchildren and retirement appear. Another myth that is alive and well is that once someone experiences osteoporosis, it’s too late to slow bone loss. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s never too late to take care of your bones and combat osteoporosis.
How do we prevent and combat osteoporosis, you ask?
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends three things to improve bone health and manage osteoporosis:
- Consume the recommended daily calcium and Vitamin D intake
- Complete regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises
- Refrain from smoking and heavy drinking
The NOF’s recommendations spotlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including both proper nutrition and exercise. Bones provide a frame for the body. They serve as armor for organs. They produce blood. Taking care of our bones and understanding the symptoms of osteoporosis is of the utmost importance. If people spent the same amount of time, energy, and finances on their bone health as they did on their skin and hair regimen, osteoporosis rates would decline. But it’s hard to devote attention to something we cannot see. This is why knowing the symptoms of the disease is pivotal to combating it.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation report symptoms of osteoporosis as the following:
- Breaking bones easily
- Hunched posture
- Losing several inches in height in a brief amount of time
- Brittle nails that break often
- Deficiency in vitamin D
- Muscle and joint pain
- Dramatic weight loss when no effort is being made to lose weight
- Back pain
- Low bone mineral density
Osteoporosis is a silent disease. It literally occurs under the skin, hiding it’s presence and progression until a fracture or break shoots up a flare and casts a fiery glow on the consequences of poor bone health. Instead of focusing on bone health once the flare is fired, make it a priority now. Don’t wait until your body throws up an SOS by way of a fracture or break. Preventing and maintaining osteoporosis starts now.
Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach