May is National Osteoporosis Month, which means now is an excellent time to learn more about this common women’s health condition.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become thin, weak, fragile, and prone to breakage. More than 8 million women in the United States have osteoporosis, and many millions more have low bone mass, a condition that can lead to osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is responsible for more than 2 million broken bones every year in the US.
Your team of providers at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton would like to make sure you have all the information you need about this common condition. Read on to learn the facts and myths about osteoporosis.
Myth: If you have osteoporosis, your bones will ache.
Fact: Osteoporosis is often referred to as a silent disease because it can damage your bones for years before any symptoms appear. For many people, a broken bone is the first sign of the disease. However, after the disease progresses, symptoms such as pain and a hunched posture may appear.
Myth: There’s nothing you can do to prevent osteoporosis.
Fact: The truth is, there are many important steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this bone-thinning disease. Those steps include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Consuming foods that contain vitamin D and calcium, such as dairy foods and fortified cereals, juices, breads, and soy milk
- Getting regular physical activity through weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, dancing, and lifting weights
- Quitting smoking
- Drinking alcohol only in moderation
Myth: Women should have yearly osteoporosis tests.
Fact: Tests known as bone-density tests can measure the health of your bones. These tests use a very low amount of radiation to X-ray your bones. However, unless you have a high risk of developing osteoporosis, you probably won’t need a bone-density test until you’re in your 60s. And even then, most women don’t need yearly tests.
Myth: Every woman should take calcium and vitamin D supplements to help prevent osteoporosis.
Fact: Although supplements may make sense for women who don’t get enough bone-building nutrients in their diets or who have an elevated risk of osteoporosis, not everyone requires supplements. Your care providers at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton can help determine whether you should take supplements.
Myth: Osteoporosis is most likely to strike women of color.
Fact: Although women of any ethnic or racial group can get osteoporosis, white and Asian women have a higher risk of developing the condition than other women.
Myth: Only women get osteoporosis.
Fact: Although 80% of those individuals who develop osteoporosis are female, it can also strike men.
Your source for osteoporosis information
At Women’s Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, our team of expert providers can guide you to take the steps necessary to protect your bones and help prevent osteoporosis. To learn more, call for an appointment or book your visit online.