Osteoporosis is a disease that reduces bone density and impacts the amount of calcium and minerals absorbed through bones, eventually leading to increase fragility and a higher likelihood for bone fracture. Around the globe, osteoporosis affects more than 75 million people in just the United States, Europe and Japan are living with the disease, including more than 200 million women worldwide according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

That is why the month of May has been officially determined as National Osteoporosis Month to help spread further awareness regarding this worldwide epidemic. The main implication and motivation for dedicating the month of May as a reminder of all of those dealing with osteoporosis is because of how the disease can drastically alter the lives of seniors. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the amount of hip fractures caused through osteoporosis could potentially triple by the year 2020, and currently one out of every two senior women and one out of every four senior men aged 50 or older will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point in their lifetime.

Knowing the facts about osteoporosis and understanding the means of prevention are the first primary steps toward changing the course of the future. National Osteoporosis Month is an amazing opportunity for individuals and health care professionals to promote all the various methods of detection, prevention and treatment available, and should also not be limited to devoting time to only one month a year.

If you are concerned about your likelihood of osteoporosis, head to your nearest hospital or clinician to receive a DEXA scan. A DEXA scan stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, which can help doctors properly diagnose if you have the disease or not by measuring your bone density. On top of a bone density scan, doctors can determine the probability of developing osteogenesis by calculating factors such as age, gender and any other previous injuries you have sustained.

It is important to note that the three biggest factors in determining healthy bones are receiving recommended amounts of vitamin D, calcium and exercising regularly. Men and women who are aged 50 or older should be consuming at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium, which can be received through beverages and foods such as:

  • Skim or low-fat milk
  • Plain, low-fat yogurt
  • Canned salmon
  • Tofu or other soy based products
  • Iceberg lettuce

For seniors who are older than 50, exercise can sometimes be difficult. Instead of strenuous activities such as running or lifting weights that can bear great stress upon your bones and joints, try out swimming or cycling instead, which are low-impact exercises that also are tremendous for your cardiovascular health.

On top of all these acts of detection and prevention, the ultimate source of treatment is consulting with your doctor to see if there is a right prescription medication for you. Prescribed drugs such as bisphosphonates can vastly slow down the bone breakdown process, allowing time for proper calcium and vitamin D dosages to increase and help treat the bones.

This May, make a difference not only for your own health, but for someone you know, and make sure to spread awareness about how to fight back against osteoporosis.

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