“Did you have your bone density scan?” asked Dr. S during my annual gynecological examination earlier this year. “Yep, I had my last scan in February 2015 and it indicated that I had osteopenia, a lesser degree of bone loss, which may lead to osteoporosis.”
“Okay,” said Dr. S, “No medication is indicated at this time.” Dr. S recommended that I get a DXA scan every two years to check my bone health.
I felt relieved but wanted to know more about how I could help prevent osteoporosis, a chronic disease of the bones, during my life after 50. That’s why when Hologic, Inc., a leading global healthcare and diagnostics company with a focus on women’s consumer health, asked if I would participate in their sponsored campaign, I said “yes.”
The Statistics Are Startling
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Furthermore, estrogen, a hormone in women that protects bones, decreases sharply when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss. (Isn’t it enough that I have sleepless nights due to my lack of estrogen, now my bones are less protected too!)
In addition, figures from a recent Harris Poll, Omnibus Survey on Osteoporosis (April 7-11,2016) reveal 71 percent of Americans say they are aware of the effects that osteoporosis can have on their health, yet only 52 percent report taking any steps to prevent it.
Wow-o-wow! These are startling statistics. And the sad part is that many women (and men too) can help prevent this disease by following some simple tips.
Celebrate World Osteoporosis Day
While World Osteoporosis Day 2016 is October 20th, and National Osteoporosis Month is in May, it’s the theme of this year’s campaign that is especially important. It calls for individuals to “Love Your Bones: Protect Your Future.”
So boomer girls, are you ready to take action to curb your bone loss? Promise me that you won’t just read the words of advice. Please practice what Dr. Andrea Singer, director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, says, and “play an important role in your bone health.” Awareness is half the battle, prevention is the key.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) offers the following pointers to aid you in “breaking free” from osteoporosis:
♥ Get to know risk factors including: age, gender, lifestyle, medical history, family history and whether you take medication or have medical conditions that can lead to bone loss. (For example, I’m 50+, postmenopausal, am small and thin — all higher risk factors. Ugh!)
♥ Get active: Doing regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise is one of the best ways to protect against osteoporosis and broken bones. (Yes, yes, yes, I do yoga almost every day. On Mondays, I also participate in yoga with light weights. I’m getting better at my planks that my yoga teacher N makes us do in class each week. Using my body weight is a whole lot of weight-bearing!)
♥ Get healthy: Calcium, vitamin D, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats are the key to eating for healthy bones. (I eat nutritiously most of the time, consuming almond milk, low fat yogurt, several fruits and veggies each day. I take a calcium with vitamin D supplement and also like to soak in some fresh vitamin D with a walk whenever I can get outdoors on a sunny day — after slathering on my SPF 50 sunscreen.)
♥ Get checked: To get screened, the NOF recommends getting a DXA scan. It’s a painless, 15-minute test – a bone density scan – which can help predict your risk of breaking a bone. (I’ve been having bone density scans since I turned 50. I have some high risk factors and want to do all that I can to stay healthy and safe as I age.)
♥ Get clean: To maintain good bone health, don’t smoke or have more than two drinks a day. (Thankfully, I have never smoked and don’t intend to start. And I keep my alcohol to a minimum. √√)
How are your risk factors? For more information on osteoporosis prevention check out boneawareness.com and the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). Make a promise to yourself today to become an advocate for your health and wellness during your post 50 years.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hologic, Inc. Hologic is sponsoring this post because the company is a leading developer of innovative healthcare products that enable women to lead healthier lives, everywhere, every day. To learn more about osteoporosis through Hologic, visit boneawareness.com, a website that Hologic launched in honor of National Osteoporosis Month (May).