Top 5 Things to Know About Bone Health

Brittle bones can sneak up on you. Here's what you need to know about your bones to make sure that doesn't happen.

a middle aged Asian American woman does a plank yoga pose at home to strengthen her bones

Updated on October 31, 2023.

Osteoporosis is often called a "silent" disease because the symptoms can be subtle or even undetectable until you break a bone. In many cases, a fracture in your wrist, hip, or spine may be the first sign of a problem. The good news is that the condition is manageable. Learning all you can about osteoporosis is the first step to taking charge of your bone health. Here are some key facts to know about the condition.

Bones change with age

Anyone can develop osteoporosis at any age, but more than half of people in the United States age 50 and over have osteoporosis or osteopenia, a condition that indicates low bone mass. The percentage of people affected by these conditions increases with age.

Your bones know your family

Your race, ethnicity, and family history matter to your bones. White people and people of Asian descent have an increased risk of osteoporosis, as do people with a parent who has a history of the condition..

Body build matters

Having a small frame or naturally thin bones and being assigned female at birth means you start with an increased risk of eventually having brittle bones. But you can overcome that risk with following some preventive steps. These include getting regular exercise and eating a diet rich in foods containing calcium and vitamin D. Having regular checkups with your healthcare provider (HCP) is also a must if you have a predisposition toward osteoporosis.

Bones love a head start

If you have osteoporosis or mild bone thinning, there are many things you can do to help prevent and minimize long-term complications of the disease. It starts with your HCP. Beginning early in the course of the disease to establish a treatment program and making lifestyle adjustments can help you keep your bones in good shape over the long haul.

You're in control

While there are some factors related to bone loss that you can't control—like your age, family history, and build—there are plenty of other factors you can and should control.

These include:

  • Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, as well as plenty of leafy green vegetables
  • Staying physically active, with weight-bearing exercises in particular, such as walking, jogging, or lifting weights
  • Being mindful of side effects of the medications you take, because certain drugs may encourage bone thinning
  • Minimizing or cutting out smoking and drinking alcohol, both of which can make bones weak

With a holistic plan designed to improve your overall well-being, you can also make substantial investments in the health of your bones.

Article sources open article sources

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Osteoporosis. Last Reviewed: December 2022.

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