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Bone Health

Seven Smart Steps to Good Bone Health

from the American Orthopedic Association’s "Own the Bone" program


1. Talk to your doctor

  • Ask your doctor if your broken bone may be related to osteoporosis.
  • Seek advice about bone mineral density testing, also known as DXA or DEXA testing (to detect low bone density and osteoporosis). DEXA testing is available at Ellis Medicine and Bellevue Woman’s Center
  • Discuss medications that might help minimize bone loss and/or reduce the risk of future fractures. Be sure you discuss the benefits and risks of any medications.

2. Improve Calcium Intake

  • Calcium helps to maintain strong healthy bones and muscles. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)recommends 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day for men and women. After age 50, according to the NIH, both men and women should increase their calcium intake to 1,200 milligrams daily.
  • Ways to get more calcium in your diet - eat more dairy products that are rich in calcium, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, as well as non-dairy foods high in calcium such as broccoli, almonds and sardines. Calcium supplements can also be helpful to boost your daily calcium intake.

3. Increase Vitamin D Intake

  • Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium through the bloodstream. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 400 to 800 International Units (IU) for men and women. Talk with your doctor about what is right for you.
  • Sources of Vitamin D - sunshine (at least 15 minutes a day); foods such as milk, yogurt, tuna fish, salmon and eggs (vitamin D is in the yolk); vitamin D supplements.

4. Get Enough Exercise

  • Exercise (especially weight-bearing and resistance exercise) helps to preserve bone density. Dancing, hiking, jogging, playing tennis, lifting weights and elliptical training are some good examples.

5. Prevent Falls

Reduce your chance of falling and causing a fracture by playing it safe:

  • Inside your home:  use night lights; keep floors clear of clutter; keep floor surfaces smooth but not slippery; don’t walk around in socks or floppy slippers; keep electrical cords and telephone lines out of the way; use a rubber mat in the shower or tub.
  • Outside your home: in winter, wear shoes or overshoes with good traction; be careful about floors in public buildings that can be slippery, especially in bad weather; check out curbs before stepping up or down; in bad weather, ask for help or consider using a cane or walker.

6. Stop Smoking

  • Tobacco is toxic to your bones, making you more susceptible to low bone mass and osteoporosis.

7. Limit Alcohol Consumption

  • Drinking heavily can increase bone loss and the risk of sustaining a fragility fracture from a fall.
  • On average, alcohol intake of three or more drinks per day is detrimental to bone health, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.