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What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a gradual thinning of the bones, causing them to become brittle and prone to fractures. Although women over 50 are most commonly affected, men can also develop this low bone density condition. Onset is usually caused by a sudden drop in estrogen levels after menopause but can also be caused by cigarette smoking, eating disorders that limit calcium in the diet, heavy alcohol consumption, an inactive lifestyle, and some medications such as anticonvulsants and corticosteroids.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis

Like all living tissue, bone breaks down over time and needs to be replaced. Bone density is a measurement of how strong the bones are, as measured through a bone density test or DEXA scan (X-rays). The main reason for having a DEXA scan is to find, treat, and monitor osteoporosis to prevent fractures and breaks. The bone density test measures how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into an X-rayed segment of bone, most commonly the spine and hip.
Keeping bones healthy means a proper diet with the appropriate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium, and a regular exercise routine to create bone mass. The recommended dose for calcium is 1,000 mg daily intake for women 50 and younger and 1,200 mg for women 50 and older. A well-balanced diet should provide most of the necessary calcium you need. Foods rich in calcium include cheese, yogurt, milk, and dark leafy greens.
Vitamin D foods include oily fish such as sardines and herring, red meat and egg yolks. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for bone health. Another vitamin D source includes sun exposure. Usually, 600 IU of vitamin D per day is recommended, but ask your physician or pharmacist for recommendations on all your intakes. Healthy protein sources include seafood, white meat, milk, cheese, Greek yogurt and beans. Vegan protein sources include lentils, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, hempseed and spelt. Protein helps rebuild and increase bone mineral density.
  • DEXA Scans
  • A Healthy Diet that includes Protein, Vitamin D and Calcium
  • Exercise
  • Limiting Alcohol Intake
  • Smoking Cessation
Osteoporosis can be treated after diagnosis. Medications that may be included in treatment regimens include bisphosphonates and bone building drugs. Treatments include healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise, good nutrition with enough protein, calcium and vitamin D, smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake. Regular exercise helps prevent and treat osteoporosis by reducing the rate of bone loss and conserves bone tissue to lower the risk of fractures.
Summerland Guardian Pharmacy has been serving the local community for over a century and we continue to serve our customers through these unusual times. If you have any questions about the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis or bone health in general, please call one of our pharmacists at (250) 494-0531.