Home » Health Conditions and Illness » Preventing Osteoporosis

Preventing Osteoporosis

stages of osteoporosis illustration | Johns Creek Family MedicineOsteoporosis is a quiet epidemic that currently affects about 10 million Americans, with another 18 million at serious risk for developing the condition in their lifetimes. Fortunately, there are preventive measures to avoid this slowly progressing metabolic bone disease. The significance of these strategies is best understood after an overview of the dynamic process of bone formation.

Understanding bone health

Bone is an active body tissue, constantly rebuilding and breaking-down its component parts such as calcium and other minerals. This process of “turn-over” is influenced both by the body’s hormonal messengers as well as external pressure placed on bones from physical activity. Bone usually reaches its greatest strength at about age 30, with what is known as peak bone density.

Over time, as hormonal and activity levels shift, so too can the make-up of boney tissue. A gradual decline from peak bone density levels can lead to a measurable decline in bone density, known as osteopenia. If bone density levels become sufficiently low that there is a real risk for pathological fractures, a diagnosis of osteoporosis can be made.

Prevention and the best medicine

Fundamental to aging gracefully, staying active also provides protection against osteoporosis. The natural stimulation for bone formation that is provided by physical activity helps slow or halt the loss of bone density. While staying active all throughout life is the surest way to maintain bone density, it is never too late to add gentle exercise such as walking to a healthy lifestyle and osteoporosis prevention plan.

As one of the primary mineral components of bone, calcium is essential to the prevention osteoporosis. While dairy and other foods are rich in calcium, it may be advisable to include a calcium supplement in an osteoporosis prevention plan.

Vitamin D is another important tool for bone health. This dietary component is transformed in the body by sunshine to act like a hormone that stimulates deposition of calcium in the bones. Look for foods like fortified dairy products that contain both calcium and vitamin D. About 10 minutes of sun per day is enough to activate vitamin D without excess risk of skin damage.

Even after a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis has been made, the same strategies of diet and exercise that help prevent bone loss can be used to slow the rate of decreasing bone density. Special medications designed to help strengthen bones may also be recommended by your health care professional.

Build a bone health plan with Johns Creek Family Medicine

While intended to be informative, this article is no substitute for medical advice. If you have a concern about bone health and osteoporosis prevention, consult with a medical professional such as Dr. Charkawi at Johns Creek Family Medicine clinic.

Dedicated to better health through preventive care, Johns Creek Family Medicine is your neighborhood osteoporosis prevention specialist. Visit with Dr. Charkawi to experience his whole-patient approach to preventing common conditions such as decreased bone density and osteoporosis.

The Johns Creek Family Medicine clinic is located in Johns Creek near Peachtree Parkway (Highway 141) and McGinnis Ferry Road intersections, directly across from Emory Johns Creek Hospital on Hospital Parkway. Dr. Charkawi is accepting new patients from South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties and the surrounding North Atlanta areas including Alpharetta, Cumming, Roswell, Suwanee, Johns Creek, Duluth, and Dawsonville. Stop by today to get on the road to better bone health.

Comments are closed.