TIPS FOR HEALTHY BONES
Each year, approximately 2 million older Americans sustain fractures because of weak bones, leading to temporary or permanent disability, and even death. The incidence by 2025 is predicted to be 3 million.
There are 300,000 hip fractures in the U.S. yearly and half of these people don’t regain their pre-fracture activity level. Fortunately, there are things you can do to maintain and even improve your bone strength:
- Understand your individual risk for fracture. This is based on any risk factors you have — such as age, smoking, a history of falls, diabetes, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, certain medications that cause bone loss, and your bone density. Ask your doctor if you need a bone density test.
- Understand your individual risk for bone loss. Genetics plays a large role in bone health, and some people have genetically determined high rates of bone turnover after menopause or with aging. Bone metabolism testing can provide additional information about your risk for fracture. It can also be used to ensure that you are responding to osteoporosis medications.
- Be active every day. Strength-building and weight-bearing activities help build strong bones. Children should exercise at least one hour each day and adults should get 30 minutes of daily activity.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Older adults who are overweight have a higher risk for falling. Being underweight raises the risk of bone loss and fractures.
- Get enough calcium and Vitamin D. The health of our bones depends on a steady stream of nutrients, most importantly calcium and Vitamin D.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can reduce bone mass and increase your risk for a broken bone. Nicotine inhibits bone-forming cells.
- Limit alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use reduces bone mass and increases your risk for falls and broken bones.
Last Reviewed May 2020
Contributed and/or Updated by:
Barbara J. Campbell, MD, FAAOS
Stuart J. Fischer, MD, FAAOS