Osteoporosis: What You Should Know

By Bruce G. Gilbert
Balanced Fitness
A.C.E. certified, U.C.L.A. ext. certified

Osteoporosis is a disease that is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density. Women who have gone through menopause are at the greatest risk of having osteoporosis because their bodies stop producing estrogen, which protects their bones. If not prevented or if left untreated osteoporosis will cause the bones to become fragile and easily break. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine and wrist.

Usually there are no symptoms in the early stages of the osteoporosis. Some people do not learn they have the disease until their bones get so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall with very little trauma causes a fracture or a vertebrae (bones or cartilage in the spine) to collapse. If a vertebrae is affected, symptoms such as severe back pain, loss of height, stooped posture, or other spinal defects could occur. The most serious kind of fracture caused by osteoporosis for an older person is a hip fracture. According to AARP, one in five people who experience a hip fracture end up requiring long term nursing care within a year of the incident.

Prevention & Treatment for Osteoporosis

The U.S. Surgeon General recommends a three-pronged approach to protecting your bones and lowering your risk of getting osteoporosis which include; establishing an exercise routine, following a well-balanced diet and receiving regular checkups and screenings.

Diet

Follow a diet that provides the proper amount of calcium, vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium) and protein. While this will not completely stop bone loss it will guarantee that a supply of the materials the body uses to form and maintain bones is available. Your physician may recommend a supplement to give you the calcium and vitamin D your body requires.

High-calcium foods include:

Cheese
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and collard greens
Low-fat milk
Salmon and Sardines (with the bones)
Soybeans
Tofu
Yogurt

Exercise

Regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures in people with osteoporosis. You would want to avoid any exercise that presents a risk of falling, or high-impact exercises that may result in fractures. Some of the recommended exercises include:

  • Weight-bearing exercises -- walking, jogging, playing tennis, dancing

  • Resistance exercises -- free weights, weight machines, stretch bands, swimming

  • Balance exercises -- stretching, tai chi, yoga

Living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle and getting regular checkups can help you prevent osteoporosis as well as a host of other diseases.

Sincerely,

Bruce G. Gilbert
Balanced Fitness

Call me at (213) 703-8554 or e-mail me at bruce@balancedfitnessla.com for a
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NOTE: This publication is not intended for use as a source of medical advice. You should obtain medical advice from your private healthcare practitioner. Before beginning any exercise or dietary program, consult with your physician to ensure that you are in proper health and that this or any exercise or dietary program will not put you at risk.

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Copyright 2010 Bruce Gilbert, Balanced Fitness LA. All Rights Reserved.