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Taking Care Of the Bones That Support You

Senior couple walking on outdoor trailYour bones are vital to your every day life – responsible for supporting your body, allowing you to move and protecting your organs. But how often do you consider the health of your bones?

Millions of people suffer from osteoporosis, the most common bone disease, in which bones become weak and are more likely to fracture or break. The majority of people with osteoporosis are women – often due to hormone changes as women enter menopause.


Female doctor consulting with senior female patient

Know Your Risk

There are a number of risk factors that increase your chances of getting osteoporosis:

  • Age – the risk of osteoporosis increases as you get older
  • Sex – women have smaller bones than men and experience faster bone loss due to hormone changes
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Not getting enough calcium or Vitamin D
  • Too little exercise or long periods of inactivity
  • Being underweight
  • Using alcohol or tobacco
  • Certain medications

Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk of osteoporosis and whether or not any testing may be necessary.

Senior couple hiking in trees

Take Control of Your Bone Health

While some of the risk factors for bone loss are outside of your control, there are things you can do to strengthen your bones. You can make lifestyle changes, especially during teen years and young adulthood, to prevent osteoporosis and slow bone loss.

  • Get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
Two Women eating Healthy Meal In Kitchen

It's Not Just About Age

While most common in older people, low bone density and osteoporosis can affect those who are younger as well. If you have low bone density at a young age, your risk of osteoporosis later in life increases. In premenopausal women, osteoporosis can be due to an underlying medical condition. If you have concerns about your bone health, talk to your healthcare provider.

Bone Density Screenings

Many people don’t find out they have osteoporosis until after they have broken a bone. However, there are screenings available that can measure the strength of your bones and determine whether or not you have osteoporosis. The most common test is a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which uses x-rays to measure the amount of certain minerals that are present in your bones. Usually, the test will be performed on your spine, hip or forearm.

Benefits of Screening:

  • Can find osteoporosis before you break a bone
  • Assesses risk of broken bones
  • Confirms diagnosis of osteoporosis
  • Monitors whether osteoporosis treatment is working

What to Expect:

  • Tests are quick, easy and painless
  • Similar to an x-ray
  • Requires very little preparation for you
  • Usually completed in 10-30 minutes

Consider a Screening If You:

  • Are a women 65 or younger who has gone through menopause
  • Have lost at least 1.6 inches of height
  • Have broken a bone
  • Have used steroid medications for long periods
  • Have received an organ or bone marrow transplant
  • Have experienced changes in hormone levels

To Learn More

Contact our Women’s Health Nurse Navigator at 740-687-2727 to learn more about bone health and other women’s health concerns.