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  • Writer's pictureBeth Kitchin PhD RDN

Be Kind to Your Skeleton: It's Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month!


May is National Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month. As some of you may know, I was the patient educator at the UAB Osteoporosis Clinic for over two decades. Once a week I taught a group class on bone health and then counseled patients after they met with their physician specialists. And I loved it! So this is an important month for me.


Let’s start with a fun fact about your bones: Every ten years you have a completely new skeleton! How is this possible? Bones are living tissue. To keep them strong, your body is always removing old, worn out, tiny, microscopic bits of bone and then replaces it with new strong bone. You can think of your bones as a bank account. You are constantly withdrawing and depositing bone. If you’re depositing more than you are withdrawing, then your bones get stronger. And this is what’s happening in kids and young adults. But as we get older, that changes. Our withdrawals rev up. We become bone spendthrifts and lose more bone than we can replace. Ultimately, many of us end up with osteoporosis – weak bones that break more easily. You will often hear people call this “low bone density”.

 

Osteoporosis is a silent disease with no outward symptoms until a bone breaks. The word osteoporosis means “porous bones”. Maintaining good bone density is the key to preventing or treating osteoporosis.

 

Let’s start with the risk factors for osteoporosis:

 

Osteoporosis is Risk Factors You Can’t Control:

 

  • Being over the age of 50

  • Being Female (but men can and do get osteoporosis)

  • Menopause

  • Family History of Osteoporosis

  • Being thin or losing a lot of weight

  • Broken bones or height loss over the age of 50

 

Osteoporosis Risk Factors You Can Control

  • Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D

  • Inactivity

  • Smoking

  • Drinking too much alcohol

  • Excessive weight loss

 

This is an important month for me personally because, despite my healthy habits, I have several of these risk factors, including being post menopausal, a woman over 50, and being thin. I also have a family history of osteoporosis - surprisingly it's my father who had osteoporosis and not my Mom who is still going strong!


I have posted my educational videos that I made during the pandemic shutdown for our osteoporosis patients since I could not see them in person. They are on my newly created Learn Page on this website! Just click this link and watch and learn! As always, feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments section of this blog! I always enjoy hearing from you! And a big WELOME to all of the new subscribers!


Get Strong, Stay Strong!

Beth



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