New research released today on World Osteoporosis Day shows 1 in 2 Australians over 40 are worried about developing brittle bones, yet the majority are failing to take steps to prevent this from happening.
Osteoporosis Australia is urging men and women to take action to reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis.
"Most Australians have high expectations for the future, said Naseema Sparks, CEO of Osteoporosis Australia in a media release. "We expect to lead active and independent lifestyles, yet this is not possible without strong, healthy bones."
"All Australians need to make bone health a priority."
We can't control all the factors that contribute to osteoporotic fractures, but there's a lot women can do to strengthen and preserve their bones.
Eight tips to keep bones healthy:
- Vital nutrients: Maintain a healthy diet that provides bone-building nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D.
- Exercise: Get at least 30 minutes of bone-strengthening activity most days. Include both weight-bearing activities, like running or brisk walking, and resistance exercise.
- Don't smoke: Smokers lose bone faster and have higher fracture rates.
- Know your risk: Most guidelines recommend osteoporosis screening through bone mineral density (BMD) testing starting at age 65 earlier for women who have health conditions or take medications that increase risk.
- Consider bone-preserving drugs: Postmenopausal women who've had a fracture or received a BMD score of minus 2.5 or worse should take an osteoporosis drug. Women with scores of minus 2.0 to minus 2.5 should consider medication.
- Be aware of the depression connection: Research has found links between depression and bone loss. For example, women with a history of major depression have lower bone density and higher levels of cortisol, a hormone related to bone loss. If you're being treated for depression, ask your doctor about whether you should have a BMD test.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Weighing less than 57.5 kilograms or having a body mass index under 21 is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Also, if you lose weight during the menopausal transition, you're more likely to lose bone. Avoid ultra-low-calorie diets and diets that eliminate whole food groups.
- Avoid falls: Keep floors clear of tripping hazards, make sure stairways and entrances are well lit, and add grab bars to your bathtub or shower.
Have your say: are you worried about your bone health?