Bone Density

an X-ray of a person's hand, showing all the bones of the hand and fingers

Loss of bone density is an issue that applies to everyone over time, whether you have osteoporosis or not. It is estimated that 10 million U.S. citizens have osteoporosis, and an additional 34 million have low bone mass. This leads to increased risk of fractures and breaks, which increases the likelihood of falling and the associated injuries.

There are several things you can have your loved one do to increase the amount of bone density he or she retains, and there are several things you can have your loved stop doing.

Here are a few tips along with some links to help prevent and treat loss of bone density.

Talk to a doctor and get tested

A doctor will be able to tell you whether or not your loved one has strong bones or not. In addition to providing personalized tips, he or she may prescribe medication that will help your loved one maintain or even rebuild his or her bone density.

Take calcium and vitamin D supplements

Many people associate consuming calcium with strong bones. However, this is only half the story. Without vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium, and it will either go to waste or build up in other parts of the body. While vitamin D is produced by the body simply by getting natural sunlight, in order to ensure that your loved one is getting enough of both, consider getting calcium from sources like dairy, sardines, and dark leafy greens, and getting vitamin D from fish, eggs, and mushrooms. For more foods that are good sources of calcium and vitamin D, see the following links:

Avoid alcohol and soda

While neither needs to be completely eradicated from a diet, neither alcohol nor soda helps with bone maintenance. Alcohol disrupts the function of vitamin D in the body, while soda is believed to decrease bone density by overloading the body with phosphoric acid. If your loved one has not yet experienced loss of bone density and enjoys one or both of these things, consider asking them to cut it down rather than cut it out.

Stop smoking

In addition to the abundance of other health detriments, smoking has been linked to loss of bone density by reducing the amount of calcium it absorbs. Try to work with your loved one to find a process that works for them to wane them off of cigarettes.

Exercise more

Studies vary, but light exercise (which includes walking, mild to moderate weight-lifting, swimming, etc.) can help the body increase bone density during the body’s repair phase.

Please see the following links for additional tips:

Brain exercise for the week

See if your loved one can remember what they had for dinner every night for the past week working backward. As a bonus, see if he or she can remember who ran for president the first time they voted (or were eligible to vote).

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