By: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Ec., P.H.Ec.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes low bone mass and loss of bone. This can lead to an increased risk of bone breaks, which can drastically change a person’s quality of life.1 This year, osteoporosis Canada is launching a campaign during November’s Osteoporosis Awareness Month called “Capture the Fracture”. This initiative is to try to make sure people who have a break don’t have one again.2
Osteoporosis – “Silent Thief”
The signs and symptoms of osteoporosis are often hard to identify, which can result in people having bone loss without even realizing it. Yet, it is extremely prevalent with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men having a break related to osteoporosis in their lifetime.1
Some of the risk factors to be aware of are3,4:
- Family members that have broken bones from a minor fall (hip fracture, etc.)
- Low intake of calcium & vitamin D
- Smoking & alcohol intake (greater than 3 alcoholic beverages/day)
- Low levels of physical activity
- Early menopause (before the age of 45)
- Losing height
What to do if you think you’re at risk?
If you’re over the age of 50 and have one or more risk factor, it is wise to consult your healthcare practitioner to determine if you should get a bone mineral density test and a comprehensive fracture risk assessment.3 Even if you are under the age of 50 – if you are unsure about your bone health, don’t hesitate to speak with a health care professional.3
Diet is extremely important to build strong bones throughout the lifecycle. There are so many valuable nutrients that contribute to overall bone health, which include calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, protein and many more!5,6,7 This makes eating a balanced diet from Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide essential to ensure you’re meeting your nutrient requirements.8 Since our best source of vitamin D is from the sun, and if you don’t get enough daily sun exposure, it is a good idea to inquire about taking a vitamin D supplement as well.7 Speak with a Registered Dietitian to get more information on your specific nutrition requirements.
Also, try to eat healthy & tasty meals that support your bone health. The following chicken recipes are simple to make, and full of nutrients that will help you achieve your nutrition goals!
Exercise is extremely important to build strong bones for osteoporosis prevention and management.
Once you’ve determined your risk of osteoporosis, it is recommended that you consult a physiotherapist to identify the types of physical activity you should include in your daily routine.9
In general, the following activities are encouraged as part of a balanced exercise plan:9, 10
- Weight-bearing activity (walking, jogging/running, dancing, step aerobics)
- strength training (weight lifting, exercise bands, body weight exercises)
- balance training (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
- posture training (to ensure you’re aware of how your body is moving)
Standing Tall & Preventing a Fall
When someone has osteoporosis, even a minor fall can lead to a broken bone. This makes it very important to prevent falls. Below are some tips to keep you standing tall! 10,11
- Ask a physiotherapist to help you develop a “safe” physical activity regime.
- Clear clutter from your home that you may trip on.
- Wear comfortable footwear that have a low heel.
- Be aware of taking medications that may cause dizziness.
- Use handrails when traveling up and down stairs.
- Remove rugs from your home that may cause you to trip.
- Be careful entering and exiting the bathtub or shower – have non-slip mats in this area.
For more information on Osteoporosis Month and what you can do to spread awareness – please visit: http://www.osteoporosis.ca/news/osteoporosis-month/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). What is Osteoporosis. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/what-is-osteoporosis/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Osteoporosis Month. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/news/osteoporosis-month/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Checklist for Risk of Broken Bones and Osteoporosis. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/diagnosis/risk-factors/
- Osteoporosis Australia. (2014). Risk Factors. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/risk-factors
- Brown, S.E. (n.d.). 20 key nutrients for your bones – an overview. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.betterbones.com/bonenutrition/20keybonenutrients.pdf
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Calcium: An Important Nutrient that Builds Stronger Bones. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/calcium-requirements/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Vitamin D: An Important Nutrient that Protects you Against Falls and Fractures. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/vitamin-d/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Nutrition. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). General Physical Activity Guidelines. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/exercise-for-healthy-bones/general-guidelines-for-physical-activity/
- Osteoporosis Australia. (2014). Strategies to avoid falls. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/sites/default/files/files/Strategies_avoid_falls2013.pdf
- Osteoporosis Canada. (2014). Preventing Falls. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/living-well-with-osteoporosis/preventing-falls/