Approximately 10 million people over the age of 50 have osteoporosis of the hip in the United States. It is estimated that by 2020, one out of every two Americans over the age of 50 may be at risk of developing osteoporosis of the hip or any other site in the skeleton. The main reason for the high prevalence of osteoporosis is simple-everyone loses bone mass as they grow older. And as bone mass decreases, the likelihood of fracture increases.
Of course, not everyone will be affected to the same degree. Women are 4 times more likely to suffer from osteoporosis than are men due to the hormonal changes associated with menopause. Some other factors that increase the risk for developing osteoporosis include family history, having a small-boned body frame, previous fracture history, being of Caucasian or Asian descent, certain medications, smoking, and alcohol.
There are several things that you can do every day to build stronger bones:
Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D: Other than maintaining the structural integrity of the skeletal system, calcium is required by your body for important functions such as transmission of nerve signals, coagulation of blood, and muscle contraction. If your body doesn’t get enough calcium from your diet, it will start to break down bone. Vitamin D, which can be obtained from sunlight or foods such as fatty fish, cheese, and egg yolks; helps your body absorb calcium present in your food.
Exercise: Just like muscles, bones get stronger with working out. Weight-bearing exercises are the best for preventing osteoporosis as they force your bones and joints to move against gravity stimulating new bone growth. Strength training with free weights or machines, aerobics, jogging, running, stair climbing, and walking are good examples of weight-bearing exercise.
Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption: Research studies suggest more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk of bone loss.
Quitting smoking: Smoking has been found to double the likelihood of fractures and bone loss as nicotine present in cigarettes has been found to interfere with the action of the hormone estrogen.
Replacing cola-based sodas with milk: Several research studies have suggested a link between consuming cola-based sodas and osteoporosis. By replacing cola-based sodas with milk, not only will you be cutting back on the harmful effects of sodas, but you will also be consuming more calcium to strengthen your bones.
Activities such as the ones mentioned above will play an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis as people continue to live longer and more active lives.
Dr. Domb is a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the hip, shoulder and knee. A noted pioneer in advanced new techniques in hip arthroscopy, he delivers innovative treatments for patients with hip injuries such as impingement and labral tears. Dr. Domb is also an expert in arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee, adept in specialized techniques including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and all-inside ACL reconstruction.