Dr. Beverly Foster
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Chiropractic Health & Rehabilitation

Osteoporosis: It Doesn’t Hurt, So Why Worry?

We associate osteoporosis with older people whose backs are bent–from those with a mild “dowager’s hump “to those who can no longer stand up straight. The truth is that 20 million American women have osteoporosis. And 80 percent of them don’t even know it!

Osteoporosis is a chronic, progressive condition that steals bone from the body, often leading to fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine. Many older people suffer disability and even death from osteoporosis-related fractures. While one in two women will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime, one in eight men will, too!

Apparently, many people confuse osteoporosis with arthritis, and wait for swollen joints and pain before going in for testing. Even though osteoporosis is painless (until you suffer a bone fracture), it is extremely important to find out how healthy your bones are–and to make lifestyle, dietary, and sometimes other changes.

What you can do to prevent or slow Osteoporosis?

One of the best lifestyle changes you can make is in the area of exercise. Weight-bearing activity for 20 minutes three times a week is helpful. Try walking, jogging, playing racquet sports, lifting weights, or doing aerobics. A healthful diet makes a big difference. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Enjoy nuts and seeds. Experiment with broccoli, kale, collard greens, cabbage, and turnip greens. Try tofu, salmon, sardines, grains and Iow fat dairy products, such as milk and yogurt (a glass of Iow fat milk and a cup of yogurt adds 600 mg of calcium to the diet a day). Drink eight 10-ounce glasses of water a day (herb teas, juices, or other liquids are not a substitute for water). Avoid caffeine, carbonated colas, alcohol, baked goods, and junk food. Watch your animal protein intake.

Don’t smoke.

Include more calcium in your diet. Most Americans get only about 600 mg of calcium a day, but a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences says adults 51 and older need 1,200 mg/day. The National Institutes of Health’s recommendations are 1,000 mg/day for post-menopausal women taking estrogen; 1,500 mg/day for postmenopausal women not taking estrogen, and 1,500 mg/day for men and women 65+. If you’re in the market for a supplement, be sure you take one that’s highly absorbable, such as microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC), or one of the malates, fumarates, succinates, glutarates, or citrates. But don’t overdo. Taking more than double the recommended amount of calcium may put some people at risk for developing kidney stones. You may also want to supplement other nutrients, such as vitamin D, C, magnesium, zinc, and silica after talking with your chiropractor.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that although weight-bearing exercise is generally recommended, people with osteoporosis should con-suit their health care practitioners before beginning a new exercise program. The Foundation cautions against sudden or excessive strain on the bones during exercise. People with osteoporosis need to be careful when lifting heavy objects–including grandchildren. Take steps to avoid falling.

Talk to your chiropractor to see what else you can do to maintain and improve the health of your bones. Your chiropractor is a highly trained expert on helping you maintain good health. Studies show chiropractic patients are hospitalized less than the general population. And chiropractic health care ranks number one in patient satisfaction.