Osteoporosis is called the"silent disease" because bone is lost with no signs. You may not know that you have osteoporosis until a strain, bump, or fall causes a bone to break.
A bone mineral density test is the best way to check your bone health. The most common method is called a DXA scan, but there are other methods, as well. This test can:
- Diagnose osteoporosis
- Check your risk of fracture
- See if treatments are making the bones stronger
- A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
- An exercise plan
- A healthy lifestyle
- Medications, if needed
A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D helps make your bones strong. Many people get less than half the calcium they need. Good sources of calcium are:
- Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Foods with added calcium such as orange juice, cereals, and breads
Vitamin D is needed for strong bones. Your body makes vitamin D in the skin when you are out in the sun. Some people get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. Others need to take vitamin D pills.
Exercise & a Healthy Lifestyle
Exercise helps your bones grow stronger. For detailed information, see page 15.
Smoking is bad for bones as well as the heart and lungs. Also, people who drink a lot of alcohol are more prone to bone loss and broken bones due to poor diet and risk of falling.