May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month

Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because the bone loss occurs without symptoms. Bones are active, living tissues. On a daily basis, our bones are continually being dissolved and rebuilt as part of the normal process where old bone is replaced by new. If the old bone breaks down faster than the new bone can be rebuilt the result is an unhealthy condition called osteoporosis. This process of losing bone usually continues undetected until pain, fractures and/or complications finally appear. As much as 40% of peak bone mass can be lost before osteoporosis is even discovered. Prevention is the best treatment.

Know the risk factors.

*family history of osteoporosis
*small frame or thin build
*female (although osteoporosis does affect men also)
*menopause or andropause
*sedentary lifestyle
*Caucasian or Asian descent
*excess caffeinated beverages or alcohol
*medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, Crohn’s Disease, Gastric Bypass surgery, and Diabetes Type I
*medications such as corticosteroids, thyroid medications, acid lowering medications (Nexium® Prilosec®, and Pepcid®) and diuretics (Lasix®, Dyazide®, HCTZ)

Reduce Your Risk.

Although many of the above factors are not under your control, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.

*Get enough calcium daily (1200mg/day)
*Get enough Vitamin D daily (2000-5000 IU/day)
*Stop smoking
*Drink alcohol and caffeinated beverages in moderation}
*INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY! (Strength Training and Yoga are best)

Bonus: Hormone replacement therapy is indicated for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
by Mary Heim, RPh, FAAFM

For more information on the National Osteoporosis Foundation, visit

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