Health Matters: What is Osteoporosis?

Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but there are things you can do to lower your risk

HEALTH MATTERS–If you have osteoporosis, you’re more at risk to be injured doing everything things.

At least 54 million Americans have osteoporosis.

Anyone at any age can develop the disease and for everyone, the effects can be serious.

“Osteoporosis is painless until you have a fracture,” said Dr. Sleckman, with Essentia Health Rheumatology.

Dr. Sleckman explained that as bones lose density, they become weaker.

“Osteoporosis is a disease or condition where by the bones are more fragile or more predisposed to fracture,” said Dr. Sleckman.

It can happen to anyone, but post–menopausal women are at most risk.

“If you fall down in your living room and have a fracture, that is what we call a fragility fracture, because the bones don’t have the normal strength to withstand the shock,” said Dr.Sleckman.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that in serious cases, a bone can break from just sneezing.

“People can have it at any age really,” said Dr. Sleckman.

Once you have one fracture, you are more likely to have another.

There are three main types:

“One are wrist fractures, the second is spinal compression fractures and the third and last is a hip fracture,” Dr. Sleckman explained.

A spinal compression fracture can cause loss of height and curving of the spine.

“That is devastating to people’s quality of life,” said Dr. Sleckman. “They have pain, they have problems breathing, they have problems taking care of themselves. That can be an outward sign.”

If someone in your immediate family suffers from the disease, Dr. Sleckman recommended having a conversation with your doctor to do a bone density test.

He said in general, making sure you have calcium in your diet will help keep your bones strong.

“It’s surprising that so much boils down to the same thing all the time. Exercise, have a  good nutritious diet, avoid tobacco and alcohol, that makes a huge difference,” said Dr.Sleckman.

Dr.Sleckman said the cereal “Total” is a great source of calcium, as well as kale or orange juice.