ValleyCare knows that strong bones are essential for good health and enjoyment of life. We are dedicated to the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis. The ValleyCare Osteoporosis Program offers free education seminars, bone density testing to assess your fracture risk and nutrition education to help you eat well for bone health. Physical therapy and exercise programs are available to strengthen bones and muscles to reduce risk of injury or to help you get back to your usual activities after a fracture.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
One out of every two women past menopause has osteoporosis. Seventy-five percent of women who have osteoporosis don't even know they have it, and it is a potentially crippling disease. Women are not the only ones who develop osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 2 million American men have osteoporosis, and another 12 million men are at risk.
Osteoporosis can happen to anyone at any age. It is a silent disease until a fracture occurs, often after minimal trauma, such as a simple fall. The following are known risk factors for developing osteoporosis:
Age and sex: Osteoporosis is most common in postmenopausal women. However, men over age 50 are also at increased risk, and the risk increases with age for both men and women.
Family history: Risk is higher if other family members have had broken bones or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Body size and weight: Women and men with small frames or who are underweight are at increased risk.
Diet and lifestyle: A diet low in calcium and vitamin D, smoking, excessive alcohol use and lack of regular exercise all contribute to bone loss.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions increase risk of bone loss, either because of the disease itself or from treatment. These include breast cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, gastric bypass surgery for obesity, eating disorders, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke.
Medications: Certain medications can weaken your bones and cause bone loss. These include prednisone, cortisone, heparin, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), aluminum-containing antacids and lithium.
Building strong bones, especially before the age of 30, can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis later in life. A healthy lifestyle can be critically important for keeping bones strong. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, there are five steps, which together are the best approach for preventing osteoporosis.
- Get the daily recommended amounts of calcium (at least 1200 mg) and vitamin D (800-1000 IU for those at risk for inadequate intake).
- Participate in regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises to decrease the risk of falls and fractures.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
- Talk to your health care provider about bone health.
- Have a bone density test and take medication.
ValleyCare offers periodic free seminars taught by our osteoporosis physician specialists. For more information, check our education calendar, or call ValleyCare Health Information at 800.719.9111 for specific dates. A ValleyCare registered dietitian can also provide an individualized nutrition evaluation and counsel you on a diet to help you meet your health goals.
Physical Therapy and Exercise
For those who need help in developing good exercise habits, ValleyCare's award-winning medical fitness center, LifeStyleRx, offers a wide array of programs to help you ease into exercise. From gentle stretching classes to warm-water exercise to individualized training, certified specialists can help you improve your bone strength and overall health.
If you suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis, ValleyCare's Physical Medicine Services, can help you get back to your usual activities. Physical therapists develop a personalized program of rehabilitation, injury prevention and pain management, which strengthens your bones and helps you return to an active life.