Bone Health: Take Steps to Prevent Osteoporosis

Northwestern Medicine
Orthopaedics May 30, 2017

As National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month comes to a close, the experts at the Northwestern Medicine Bone Health Clinic urge you to keep bone health top of mind all year long.

“Osteoporosis is a silent disease that has no signs or symptoms. One in two women and one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis,” said Margie Delaney, advanced practice nurse, Northwestern Medicine Bone Health Clinic.

While heredity is a leading risk factor for osteoporosis, Delaney says lifestyle factors can improve bone health and reduce risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.

“A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, weight bearing exercises, and avoiding smoking and heavy alcohol intake are all important steps in reducing your risk of osteoporosis,” said Delaney.

Laura Yudys, a registered dietitian at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, recommends women aged 19–50 should aim for 1000 mgs of calcium per day, and women over 50 should consume 1200 mgs per day.

“I encourage patients to get their daily requirement of calcium from food first, and if they are unable to accomplish that they should check with a physician about supplements,” said Laura Yudys, a clinical dietitian. “Your body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium in one setting, so try to break up your calcium consumption throughout the day.”
In addition to milk, Yudys says good food sources of calcium include kale, turnip greens, Chinese cabbage, almonds and beans, with dried, black or pinto beans being the better choice. Fortified foods, such as orange juice, cereal, grain products and tofu can also provide calcium. Also add to your diet items rich in Vitamin D, such as canned salmon, as Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium.

“The two most common forms of calcium supplements are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium citrate is more expensive but easier to digest,” said Yudys. “Don’t take calcium supplements with a food source of calcium as your body won’t be able to absorb it. Instead, take the supplement with a non-dairy snack between meals.”

You can watch this video to learn more about Osteoporosis Disease Management:

For more information or to schedule a bone health evaluation with a Northwestern Medicine specialist, call 630.315.1840.

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