Osteoporosis is a silent disease that, unless treated, weakens the bones and leaves people at serious risk of debilitating fractures.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), at least one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture caused by weak bones. Those broken bones lead to pain, debilitation and loss of quality of life — often far beyond the physical healing process.
The IOF reports one third (33%) of older adults who suffer a hip fracture become physically impaired and can no longer live independently one year after the injury. At least one in five will die in the year following the fracture.
On top of all of that, once you’ve had one fracture you’re more likely to have another. It’s a viscious cycle.
The good news is there’s plenty you can do to stay out of that cycle and keep your bones strong and healthy. On this World Osteoporosis Day, the IOF wants you to focus on three pillars to support your bone health:
- Exercise: Whether it’s taking a brisk walk or lifting weights (grab a couple canned goods and do some bicep curls, it counts!), try to get some form of weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise daily.
- Vitamin D: Now that we’re getting into fall (and with winter on the way), it’s going to be harder to get your vitamin D through sun exposure. Talk to your doctor about adding a vitamin D supplement.
- Balanced Diet: Be sure your diet includes adequate amounts of calcium and protein.
Calcium: Your bones hold about 99% of the calcium in your body, acting as a reservoir for maintaining calcium levels in the blood. Keep those stores full by getting about 800 mg of calcium per day (for the average adult). Foods like dairy products and nuts are both calcium-rich and contain additional nutrients that support bone and muscle health.
Protein: Protein is a building block for muscles and bones. Seniors with low protein intake tend to have weaker muscles, which can lead to an increased risk of falls and fractures. Foods high in protein include meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, tofu, beans and lentils.