What You Don’t Know About Your Bones Could Hurt You

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What You Don’t Know About Your Bones Could Hurt You

It’s easy to spend your time focused on things you can see, like maintaining a healthy waistline or moisturizing your skin to avoid wrinkles. However, there’s another essential part of the body that requires attention — your bones.

Your body has more than 206 bones, not including small bones within your cartilage and teeth. Bones come in numerous shapes and sizes that give your skeleton shape. They’re also made up of living tissue, meaning they’re always breaking down and making new bone — a process known as remodeling.

Unfortunately, the remodeling process begins to slow with age, increasing your chances of lost bone mass and strength. As you lose bone mass, you can experience spine malformations, fractures, and lost height. But there’s good news.

Dr. Adepero Okulaja at The Doctor’s House in Edina, Minnesota, provides internal medicine services, comprehensive anti-aging carechronic care management, and much, much more. With her personalized approach, Dr. Okulaja can assess your bone strength and offer strategies to keep them strong and healthy at every age.

Understanding your risk of bone loss

Everyone loses bone mass with age. However, the risks are much higher for women for two primary reasons. 

First, women have less bone tissue than men to start with, leaving them with less to lose. Second, menopause speeds up bone loss for women. In fact, women lose up to 20% of their bone mass during their menopausal years when their estrogen levels drop. 

The result? About 50% of postmenopausal women develop osteoporosis — a condition that describes weak or brittle bones — and suffer from at least one fracture in their lifetime.

Other factors that increase your risk of bone loss include:

  • Having a thin-boned, slender, or underweight frame
  • Living with some medical conditions, including eating disorders
  • Being white or Asian
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis or fractured hips
  • Taking certain medications
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking or heavy drinking

However, you can take steps to protect your bones, even after menopause.

Keeping your bones strong and healthy

Bone mass peaks around age 30 for most people. So, in an ideal world, you should store up as much bone density as possible — like an insurance policy or rainy day fund. Having extra tissue in reserve increases the amount you have to draw on and lowers your risk of developing osteoporosis.

But all is not lost if you’re into your 30s or beyond. And, if you’re reading this, you’re already on the right path to protecting your bones going forward.

Dr. Okulaja can help assess your risk of bone loss. This often starts with a comprehensive exam, and she may order additional screenings, like blood tests, breathing tests, urine tests, or further diagnostics like a bone density scan

A bone density scan, or DEXA scan, measures the precise amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones. This assessment gives a clear measurement of the strength and thickness of your bones, and it’s the most accurate way to determine your bone health. It’s also completely painless; you simply lie still on a padded table while a machine scans you.

In addition to bone density testing, Dr. Okulaja could also suggest:

  • Eating 2-3 servings of high-calcium foods daily, such as broccoli, tofu, or dairy products
  • Avoiding overly restrictive, low-calorie diets
  • Maintaining a stable, healthy weight
  • Engaging in weight-bearing activities, like running or walking
  • Including stretching, strength training, and balance exercises in your fitness program
  • Using proper body mechanics to avoid falls or injuries
  • Quitting vaping or smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

On top of these strategies, specific vitamins, minerals, and medications can help protect your bone mass. Based on your exam results, Dr. Okulaja can offer personalized recommendations about vitamin and mineral supplementation from our in-house vitamin line as well as IV hydration and infusion to get nutrients quickly into your bloodstream.

How much do you know about your bone health? What you don’t know could be hurting you. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Okulaja at The Doctor’s House today to reduce your risk of future problems by calling 612-333-4834 or booking a visit online.