Make Bone Health a Priority
Each May, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) observes National Osteoporosis Month in order to bring awareness and education about importance of maintaining bone health. This year NOF introduced their Generations of Strength Campaign to encourage men and women to start conversations about bone health and family history as the first steps to protecting themselves and future generations from osteoporosis.
While most people consider making major lifestyle changes to prevent cancer and heart disease, few realize that keeping their bones healthy is just as important. People can get osteoporosis for many reasons. Some of these include a family history of broken bones, smoking, not getting enough physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, drinking too much alcohol, taking certain medicines and having certain medical conditions. Other risk factors include:
• Being female
• Older age
• Being small and thin
• Low levels of estrogen in women (including menopause)
• Low levels of testosterone and estrogen in men
About one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 are expected to have low bone density or osteoporosis. While there are important steps you can take in adulthood to help prevent osteoporosis, up to 90 percent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys. This fact makes youth the best time to build strong bones that last a lifetime.
Because you cannot feel your bones getting weaker, osteoporosis often sneaks up on people, putting them at risk without them even realizing it. A bone mineral density test can tell you if you have low bone density or osteoporosis before any symptoms even begin, such as breaking a bone. Contact your doctor today to learn the facts about your own bone health.