You've seen your health care provider and the diagnosis is official — you fractured a bone. A broken bone, also known as a fracture, can be very painful and traumatic. Even if your fracture occurred in an accident or fall that seemed like an isolated event, it may indicate a problem with your bone health.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to prevent fractures. It's a matter of taking advantage of proper diet, exercise, medications and other resources available to you right now. Below are 7 tips you can try to get started.
Talk with Your Health Care Provider
Discuss your fracture. Ask your health care provider if your break may be related to osteoporosis. Seek advice about bone mineral density testing (often referred to as a DXA scan). It's the best way to detect low bone density, and its most extreme form, osteoporosis. Also, discuss medications that have been proven effective at minimizing bone loss and/or reducing the risk of future fractures.
Get Adequate Calcium
Everyone needs calcium to maintain strong, healthy bones and muscles. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women over age 50 and men over age 70 get 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. If you are not getting enough calcium, you may be able to increase your calcium intake by adding some calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, broccoli or almonds.
Get Adequate Vitamin D
Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," plays a critical role in helping your body absorb calcium from your digestive system into your bloodstream. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 800 – 1,000 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D per day.
Get Ample Exercise
Exercise is one of the best ways to preserve bone density and maintain muscle strength. To build and maintain bone density, do weight-bearing and resistance exercises, which make your body move against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include dancing, walking, and using a stationary bike.
You can reduce your risk of falling and sustaining a fracture by playing it safe wherever you are. When you are outside, wear shoes that offer good traction, be careful about floors that can be slippery, be aware of curbs before stepping up or down, and in bad weather use a cane or walker if you feel unstable. When you are indoors, use nightlights, keep floors clear of clutter, do not walk around in socks or floppy slippers, keep electrical cords out of the way, and use a rubber mat in the shower or tub.
Tobacco is toxic to your bones, making you more at risk for low bone mass and osteoporosis. Though it's often easier said than done, investigate programs, medications, and other stop-smoking methods that can help you quit smoking.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Controlling your alcohol intake can connect you to healthier bones. Drinking heavily can increase bone loss and the risk of sustaining a fragility fracture from a fall. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, on average, alcohol intake of 3 or more drinks per day is detrimental to bone health.
Learn more about Doylestown Health’s Osteoporosis and Bone Health Program.
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