Facts About Bone Health
& Osteoporosis

Strong bones serve as the body’s foundation, and optimal bone health allows people to thrive and maintain their mobility and independence.

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Osteoporosis, which means “porous bones,” is both preventable and treatable, regardless of age, through engaging in healthy behaviors and safe physical activity. Moreover, eating nutrient-rich foods and participating in exercises promoting better posture, stamina and coordination can contribute to maximum bone health.

Risk Factors

A person’s risk of breaking a bone depends on various factors, including age, gender, genetics, other chronic medical conditions and medication(s) used. Below are some facts about osteoporosis in the United States and in the Greater Tampa Bay Area.

  • In the U.S., more than 53 million people have osteoporosis or low bone density.
  • In the U.S., one in two women over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. 
  • Current data suggests more women in the Tampa Bay region are getting diagnosed with osteoporosis than are getting treated.
  • Approximately 16,060 osteoporosis-related fractures occur annually in the Tampa Bay Area in women ages 65 and older.
  • Bone loss for women begins in their 50s when estrogen levels drop during menopause. Women can maximize their bone health by increasing their daily calcium and vitamin D intake, engaging in weight-bearing exercise and improving their posture and body mechanics.
  • Other chronic conditions that can increase a person’s risk for bone loss and fractures include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney or liver disease and lupus.

There are many medications that impact the bones and that can increase fracture risks, including corticosteroids and some cancer-treating drugs.

Take Action

To spur bone health, consider taking the following actions:

1. Partake in weight bearing activities that require a variety of movements, including pickleball, tennis, yoga, dancing or weight training.

2. Eat foods dense in calcium, vitamin D, protein and magnesium.

  • Foods loaded with calcium include dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. 
  • Calcium is also found, to a lesser extent, in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
  • Vitamin D assists the body in absorbing calcium, and people can get vitamin D through eating fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna along with eggs, cheese and milk.
  • The sun can be a source of vitamin D, yet it is not reliable for various reasons.
  • Some people might require calcium or vitamin D supplements, depending on their diet. A physician or health care provider can recommend the correct amount, depending on age and medical conditions.

3. Stop smoking and vaping and reduce alcohol intake.

Healthy Beginnings

Bone health starts in childhood. Children build the majority of their bone density between the ages of 9 and 14 and reach peak bone mass in adulthood around age 30. Parents and caregivers can encourage children to begin healthy practices to grow strong bones before their tween years.

Children can:

  • Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity each day
  • Eat calcium-rich foods
  • Take a vitamin D supplement
  • Avoid smoking and vaping
  • Reduce the intake of sugary drinks

Tools to Determine Bone Health

A bone density test (DXA scan) is a non-invasive X-ray that allows healthcare professionals to determine the density of the bone. The scan helps doctors and other medical practitioners to diagnose osteoporosis, manage bone loss and prevent fractures.

Sources: American Bone Health, Amgen, National Institutes of Health, and Symphony Health Solutions

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