OSTEOPENIA – a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal, often considered to be a pre-cursor to osteoporosis. Bone mineral density T-score between 1.0 and -2.5
OSTEOPOROSIS – a disease of the bones leading to an increased risk of fracture. The bone mineral density is reduced, bone micro-architecture is deteriorating and the amount and variety of proteins in the bone is altered. Bone mineral density T-score of less than -2.5 .
Did you know that just by being a woman you have an 80% chance of developing osteoporosis? Did you know that 2 million men have osteoporosis and 12 million are at risk for it? Did you know that one in eight men over fifty will have a fracture related to osteoporosis? Did you know that a healthy 140 pound woman who is 40 years of age has bones that weigh 17 pounds while the same woman who is osteoporotic at 80 years of age has bones that weigh 11 pounds? Did you know that falls in seniors are the number one reason for trips to the emergency room? Sounds a little foreboding, so what can you do NOW to help out?
As a female, you are genetically predisposed to developing osteoporosis. Since there is nothing that we can do to influence our genetics there are many other steps that one can do, especially in the pre-menopausal span of your life, to help slow the bone erosion. One would be of proper nutrition making certain that you are eating a well balanced diet with at least 1000mg of calcium daily. There are many delicious calcium rich foods to enjoy. You could consider a dairy product such as milk, yogurt or cheese. A trip to the frozen yogurt store is not only tasty but a healthy calcium serving! You may also consider green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach or kale and kidney beans and green beans also are an option. For snack foods, figs, apricots, almonds and sesame seeds are excellent choices. Protein based foods such as sardines, tofu and eggs are also good choices. Once you are menopausal then calcium supplements are usually required to increase your daily intake of calcium even further and your physician can help you with this recommendation. For those of you using prescription acid reducers, you may want to speak with your physician regarding your calcium levels because prolonged use of these drugs are known to block the absorption of calcium from the diet.
Step number two would be to have a dexascan sometime during your forties to get a baseline bone health reading prior to the onset of menopause, and again this is something to discuss with your physician. As long as you are still producing estrogen you have a good chance of increasing bone health so being aware of your bone health early on can be very important.
Step number three is to get moving! Weight bearing exercise helps to build strength, improve balance and flexibility – all critical factors in dealing the effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Impact, percussive exercise is the ONLY type of exercise which has been shown in the research to increase bone density in the osteoporotic population. However, the evidence shows that any functional weight bearing exercise such as squats helps to build strength. As we become stronger our balance and flexibility improves which substantially reduces our fall risk. You don’t want to be one of the 30 million that has to make a trip to the emergency room each year for treatment of a fall.
In Motion O.C. Physical Therapy & Fitness can help you to develop a program with your bone health in mind. Each fitness session has some impact and percussive work, some weight bearing strength training and some balance work – the three critical components in a workout designed to combat the effects of the bone thinning disease of osteoporosis.
We look forward to helping you get stronger, healthier bones through a lifestyle incorporating fitness!
Tamra Coleman, PT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT
In Motion O.C.