May 19, 2023
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops when bone mineral density and bone mass decreases. This can lead to decreased bone strength which can increase your risk for fractures. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.
Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races, but Caucasian and Asian women, especially post-menopausal women, are at the highest risk. Medications, weight-bearing exercises and a healthy diet can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weakened bones.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
In the early stages of bone loss, there typically are not any symptoms, which makes early diagnosis more difficult. But once your bones become weakened by the disease, you may have signs and symptoms, including:
- Back or neck pain that could be caused by a fracture
- Loss of height over time
- Receding gums
- Curved or stooped spine
- Brittle fingernails
- Easy fractures
What to Do if You Are Diagnosed With Osteoporosis
- Create a support team. Talk to someone you can trust and someone that can attend doctor meetings with you. Just talking to someone can help alleviate any fears or frustrations you may be feeling.
- Educate yourself on the disease and treatment options. The more you know, the better you will feel. Learn about natural ways to support bone health, such as vitamins and minerals available to support bone health. Learn about facts and general information to help you understand osteoporosis.
- Start a weight-bearing exercise program. Talk with a physical therapist to help create an exercise program for osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises are one of the best things you can do to increase bone strength. A few good options are yoga, Pilates, walking and resistance training.
- Improve your nutrition. Calcium, vitamin C and vitamin D should be part of your diet. Eating foods rich in these vitamins will promote bone health and reduce your risk for many other conditions as you age. The following foods are best for overall bone health:
- Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt
- Fruits and vegetables: leafy greens, figs, broccoli, oranges, mushrooms
- Lean proteins: salmon, tuna and skinless chicken
- Nuts, such as almonds, sunflower seeds and pistachios
- Have regular check-ups with your physician to discuss your symptoms.