Written by Heather Hansman, Think Physical Therapy Assistant
What is it?
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density. Osteoporosis’s direct meaning is “porous bone,” because the bones become more porous with this condition. Our bones are living tissues that constantly “remodel,” meaning some bone cells dissolve and are replaced by new bone cells. When bone cells dissolve significantly more than they rebuild, that could be the beginning of osteoporosis.
What happens when bodies develop osteoporosis?
When you live with osteoporosis, your chances of fractures are increased because your bones become weaker. Chances of experiencing osteoporosis increase with age. Also with age, muscles tend to weaken if you’re not active. Weak muscles and lack of balance can cause fractures too, because falls are more likely to occur.
Some symptoms of osteoporosis include aching bones, especially vertebra, and shrinking of bones – like height loss.
Do not worry – there’s no reason to be scared. In fact, being scared of living life could just make things worse!
** There are ways you can help yourself avoid falls and fractures. Just keep reading!
Here’s how to prevent bone density loss:
✅ Exercise! The benefits are three-fold:
- Exercise creates muscle and burns fat, which lessens the strain on your bones. This helps your bones have less weight to bear. More muscle helps support those bones.
- In the case that you start to feel yourself falling, the strong muscles you maintained through exercise can help you catch your fall.
- Exercise builds – and helps maintain – bone strength and density.
** Some think that a good way to avoid falls and fractures is to limit movement. They’ve got the wrong idea! Not living life, but rather living in fear with a sedentary lifestyle, equals less confidence, strength and sturdiness – and makes people more prone to the things they’re trying to avoid. Move, move, move – but with help from the right people.
Speaking of which, I teach Think’s Fall Prevention Class. This could be a great option for you – or a loved one who lives with osteoporosis. The Fall Prevention Class is a small community of adults who come together to have fun while strengthening their bodies to increase their balance. The group is so welcoming, too!
Participants of Think’s Fall Prevention Class are excited about the confidence they build from attending class with peers and exercising with instruction from me. One participant, Jan Turcotte, told me – “I’m not afraid to go out and do things now because I feel more sturdy.” I love it!
Learn more about what class participants have to say.
Another great way to prevent and treat osteoporosis is with the correct nutrition. Bones need nutrients to be healthy – but you already knew that! You need calcium and vitamin D to absorb calcium. You also need a healthy balance of protein, fruits, veggies, vitamins and minerals.
Think Whole Person Healthcare has an in-house Registered Dietitian – Michelle Ring, RD, LMNT, CDE. She will work with you to develop a nutrition plan based on the types of foods you already like to eat and that takes into account your lifestyle. How nice is it to have all your resources in one very cool building?
Oral medications are another common treatment for those living with osteoporosis. Some use hormone treatments, bisphosphonates – or both. There are also injectable medication options since bisphosphonates tend to upset the stomach. The role of these medications is to slow the process of bone cell breakdown.
If you live with osteoporosis you should consult with your primary doctor about which medication treatment will work best for you. At Think Whole Person Healthcare, every patient’s care team includes a primary doctor, nurses and a clinical pharmacists. Together, they help you manage your Whole Health – keeping your healthcare plan coordinated versus “fractured.”
Life Is For Living! Make sure you live it to the fullest by maintaining your health. Think Whole Person Healthcare is here to help!
- Call us at (402) 506-9050 to learn more about the Fall Prevention Class.
- Contact Michelle Ring, our registered Dietitian, at (402) 506-9380.
- Not yet a Think Whole Person Healthcare patient, and want to learn more? Fill out a short form and we’ll contact you with more information.