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Protecting Your Bones

About 54 million Americans have low bone mass which puts them at an increased risk for osteoporosis.  Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone or both.  When a bone is viewed under a microscope, a healthy bone looks like a honeycomb.  However, when osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger.  

Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because one can’t feel bones weakening. One of the first signs of osteoporosis is a broken bone or a patient may notice that he or she is getting shorter or their upper back is curving forward. As bones become less dense, they weaken and in turn, are more likely to break.

You can take steps to make your bones stronger and healthier, no matter your age.  Eating more fruits and vegetables, performing strength training and weight-bearing exercise, eat high calcium and protein-rich foods, consume foods high in Omega-3 fats, magnesium and zinc and maintaining a stable, healthy weight can help build healthy bones.

If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about a bone mass measurement. If you’re at risk for osteoporosis, Medicare Part B covers this test once every 24 months (more often if medically necessary), when your doctor or other qualified provider orders it.