As you age you may notice the word ‘Osteoporosis’ popping up into your conversations more, whether that be with doctors or friends of the same age. One in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will experience a fracture due to this condition. Osteoporosis is especially prevalent in postmenopausal women due to the lack of oestrogen – a bone forming hormone.
Your bones are a living and growing part of your body. They are constant remodelling, making new bone and reabsorbing old bone. Osteoporosis occurs when there is a miss match between the two processes where your bone cells are being reabsorbed faster than they can be formed. This makes your bones more porous and fragile, which increases their risk of fracture.
BONE HEALTH AND OSTEOPOROSIS
Osteoporosis is known as the silent disease as it is not often diagnosed until a fall or fracture has occurred. This can result in disability, chronic pain, a loss in function, independence and quality of life. Hence, it is important to get your bone mineral density checked once you reach 65 for women or 70 for men, post menopause, or if you break a bone after 50. These checks should be regular every year or two.
To check your bone mineral density, you will have a DEXA scan which looks at the bone mineral density content throughout your whole body. The scan will you give you a ‘T-Score’ which compares your bone mineral density to a healthy 30-year-old adult (typical peak bone density age).
- T-score of -1 of higher = normal bone density
- T-score of -1 and -2.5 = low bone density or osteopenia
- T-score of -2.5 or lower = osteoporosis
You may also get a Z-score, which compares your bone mineral density to someone else of your age, gender, and body size.
The good new is you can improve your bone mineral density! Whilst it is not possible to surpass your peak bone mineral density levels you would have reached in your 20-30s, you can still increase your current levels through adjusting lifestyle factors and in more severe cases using medication.
OSTEOPOROSIS PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT
Keeping your bones strong and healthy comes down to simple lifestyle factors. Here are 3 key ways to keep your bones strong:
Exercise!! Weight bearing exercise is an effective strategy for increasing the stress on your bones, increasing the bone formation process. Aim for 30 minutes of weight bearing exercise a day. This can include strength/resistance/weight training, impact loading exercise such as jumping, skipping, stomping, running, dancing, tai chi, sports such as tennis. It is also important to incorporate balance exercise to decrease your fall risk.
Avoid smoking and limit alcohol
Increase calcium and vitamin D intake
WHAT TO DO IF YOU BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH OSTEOPOROSIS OR OSTEOPENIA?
If you have been told that you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or are nearing your 50-60s it is important to consider consulting an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and/or Dietician to guide you through a safe lifestyle plan to improve your bone mineral density and decrease your risk of falls and fractures.
Make an appointment with one of our experienced accredited exercise physiologists We are available in clinic or for home visits in Brisbane, Caloundra, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Thin Can Bay and Gympie. Call our friendly receptionist on 07 5456 1599 for more information.