Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens your bones. If you have osteoporosis, your bones break too easily, such as after falling at home. Breaking a bone, particularly your hip, can be serious because you could lose your ability to walk on your own, and you could end up in a nursing home. So, it’s important to avoid breaking a bone in the first place.
Women over the age of 65 are at high risk of osteoporosis, so bone density testing is recommended if you are in this age group. Bone density testing is often called a DXA Scan.
To keep your bones as healthy as possible, you should:
- Eat foods with a lot of calcium: Milk, yogurt and green, leafy vegetables
- Eat foods with a lot of vitamin D: Milk with vitamin D added and fish from the ocean
- Calcium and Vitamin D supplements if you do not get enough from the food you eat
- Be active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
- Avoid smoking
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to 1-2 drinks per day at most
You should also do your best to keep from falling. You can prevent a lot of fractures by decreasing the chances of falling.
- Make sure all rugs have non-slip backing to keep them in place
- Tuck away any electrical cords so they are not in your way
- Light all walkways well
- Watch out for slippery floors
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with rubber soles
- Have your eyes checked
- Talk to your health care provider about whether any of your medications may make you dizzy or increase your risk of falling
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are medicines you can take to reduce the chances that you will break a bone. Repeating bone density tests determine if your medications are working.
Connie Daniel, APRN, works at OneWorld Community Health Centers’ Plattsmouth location (122 South 6th St.). To schedule an appointment at OneWorld Plattsmouth, call (402) 296-2345.