Are you at risk of osteoporosis?

Are you at risk of osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak and brittle, making them susceptible to fractures. However, screening for osteoporosis is not initiated in conventional healthcare until  well after the damage is done.  We know that early screening and prevention is a much more effective strategy than trying to play catch-up with your bone health.  Reducing risk factors, getting a baseline and regular bone density tracking means healthy and strong bones for life. 

Check out the most important risk factors associated with osteoporosis:

  1. Age: Age is the most obvious risk factor for osteoporosis, but why? A combination of reduced hormone production, inadequate diet, poor digestion and sedentary lifestyle tend to catch up with people in their 50’s and beyond.  The remaining items in this list are the contributors that make aging the number one risk factor!
  2. Hormones: Hormone reduction in both men and women in their 40’s and beyond is one of the most underappreciated risk factors for osteoporosis. Estrogen is essential for healthy bone formation and maintenance and as estrogen decreases (yes, in both men and women) in the second half of life, bones take the hit.
  3. Caloric restriction and low body weight: Not only are people with small body frames more susceptible, ongoing insufficient caloric intake leads to mild malnutrition which puts bones at risk. Eating whole foods and plenty of plants can protect against insufficient caloric intake.
  4. Lack of Exercise: Sedentary lifestyle contributes to bone loss.  It’s essential to stress the bones by building and maintaining skeletal muscle strength for healthy bone regeneration. 
  5. Smoking: Smoking negatively affects virtually every aspect of health including bone formation.
  6. Excessive alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption negatively impacts bone health. More than 1 glass per day can lead to reduction in digestive function, therefore reducing absorption of essential nutrients in your diet. This means you can eat a health-promoting diet, but not get the benefits!
  7. Micronutrient deficiency:  Many vitamin and mineral deficiencies are risk factors for osteoporosis.  The bones require vitamin D, vitamin K2, and countless minerals to develop and maintain density. 
  8. Acid reflux:  This common condition is often controlled by extended use of PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) which reduce the ability to digest and absorb vitamins and minerals.  This medication-induced malnutrition is linked to increased risk of osteoporosis.
  9. Medical Conditions: Medical conditions like hyperthyroidism, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and crohn’s, among many others, are risk factors for osteoporosis.  Comprehensive treatment including diet and exercise are essential for optimal outcomes.
  10. Medications: Medical conditions that require the use of PPIs, NSAIDS, corticosteroids and chemotherapy can lead to significant impairment of bone formation.  If long-term (over 6 weeks) use of these medications are necessary, a multifaceted approach should be considered to protect bones. 

Prevention is your best line of defense.

Instead of playing Monday night quarterback with your bone health, get ahead of the game.

Here are some essential steps to help prevent osteoporosis:

  1. Keep vitamin D/K2 levels at optimal range: This ensures you are able to absorb and utilize calcium from your diet. 
  2. Weight-Bearing exercise: Engage in strength and weight-bearing exercises.These activities help strengthen bones and improve bone density.
  3. Stay on top of hormones: Get regular hormone checks after the age of 45 to ensure your DHEA, estrogen and testosterone levels are optimized. 
  4. Moderate or eliminate alcohol: Heavy alcohol consumption negatively impacts bone health. More than 1 glass per day can lead to reduction in digestive function, therefore reducing absorption of essential nutrients in your diet.
  5. Whole food and plant-focused diet: Consume a whole food diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive salt, sugar and processed food.
  6. Avoid soda and limit caffeine: Excessive consumption of soda and caffeine can lead to calcium loss. Moderation is key.
  7. Avoid Falls: It seems obvious, but if you don’t fall, you don’t fracture.  This means you must develop a strategy to build and maintain stability. An essential part of an exercise routine is stability work.  Check this out for more ideas
  8. Track bone density: We believe that bone density screening should begin well before there is a problem. Getting a baseline bone density screening (DEXA scan) between 45-50 years old will help you intervene early and prevent osteoporosis, which is a much more effective strategy than rebuilding after loss.

Our team has a proven and well-documented record of preventing and REBUILDING bone density safely and effectively.  Osteoporosis and osteopenia don’t happen in isolation, bone loss is the result of systemic imbalances.  When we correct course, not only do we protect and restore bone health, but we protect and restore overall health!

Call our office to request your DEXA and comprehensive bone health screening!