Bones are living tissue that give your body structure, and while you have 206 bones, you might not pay much attention to them unless you are injured. Fractures can be the result of an accident, but bones can also grow weak from conditions like osteoporosis. The good news is that there are steps you can take to support healthy bones long before any bone loss occurs.
In this article, Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand shares the top four ways you can reduce your risk of bone loss and what you can do here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center to monitor any changes in your bone density.
The top four ways to prevent bone loss
Osteoporosis tends to affect more women than men, but both men and women can experience osteoporosis. Bone loss related to other conditions (such as cancer, eating disorders, and calcium deficiencies) can also increase your risk of breaking a bone.
You can reduce your risk of bone loss by following these four tips:
1 Get enough calcium
Calcium is well-known for its role in supporting healthy bones. That’s because calcium is a big component of your bones, making up about 95% of your bones’ mineral content. (Your bone also contains other organic elements in addition to the minerals.) Calcium gives your bones strength and structure, and there are lots of ways to get more calcium into your diet. You can find calcium in dairy products, fortified products (such as orange juice), supplements, dark leafy greens, and canned salmon or sardines.
2 Watch your vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so it’s important to make sure you consume plenty of vitamin D. The recommended intake is at 400–800 IU/day. Although it’s called the “sunshine vitamin,” you might need to eat more, especially if you live in a cloudy climate or spend a lot of time indoors. You can find vitamin D in supplements, fortified dairy products, fatty fish, and fish liver oil.
3 Eat enough protein
Protein is one of the building blocks of your cells, and that includes the cells in your bones too. Protein makes up about 33% of your bones’ mass. Your daily recommended intake of protein varies by your weight and activity level, but a good gauge is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. You can find protein in poultry, fish, red meat, beans, and quinoa.
Weight-bearing exercises are critical for bone health. Weight-bearing exercise forces you to push your body weight against the force of gravity. Examples include walking, running, dancing, and hiking. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Even if you adopt all of these healthy habits, it’s possible to struggle with bone loss. For example, celiac disease can contribute to bone loss, even if you eat plenty of calcium and vitamin D. That’s where a bone density scan plays a big role. This can assess your bone health and help shape a treatment plan before your bone loss goes unattended for too long.
What you need to know about bone density scan
Bone density scans are diagnostic scans, which means they don’t cure or treat bone loss. Instead, the images provide information about your bones that help shape your treatment plan. Your bone density scan reveals the mineral content (e.g. calcium, phosphorus, etc.) in your bones, and this number can help assess your risk for fractures.
Our team performs the DEXA bone scan here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center. DEXA 一 dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry 一 relies on advanced X-ray technology to measure your bone density.
If you have concerns about potential bone loss, call our Houston, Texas, office at 713-781-6200 to learn more about the DEXA bone scan. You can also use our online portal to schedule an appointment.