It is a silent disease that affects 54 million people in this country — osteoporosis.
While it is serious, it doesn't always get a lot of attention.
For the first time in ten years, the American College of Physicians is making new recommendations for treatment .
These recommendations are a lot more specific, advising doctors treat women with osteoporosis with the bone-boosting medications Denosumab or bisphosphonates for five years after diagnosis.
Osteoporosis weakens the bone, making people more at risk for fractures, which can be very serious and even lead to death. It also has a huge burden on health care costs, approaching some $25 billion per year.
While post-menopausal women have the highest risk for developing osteoporosis, men and younger people can get it, too.
Dr. Lynn Pattimakiel, who specializes in internal medicine and women’s health at the Cleveland Clinic says it’s never too early to start thinking about your bone health.
“I think that it's good to start thinking about this younger, because we continue to build bone until the age of 30,” she explained. “After the age of 30, bones start to slowly decline, so we really want to promote all of this healthy lifestyle and living up until that point.”
Younger patients should get at least 1200 milligrams of calcium a day, preferably through diet. Dr. Pattimakiel says this should be supplemented with Vitamin D, especially since it is difficult to get naturally here in Northeast Ohio.
It is also important to stay active to help keep your bones strong.
“Weight-bearing exercises, we recommend,” Dr. Pattimakiel told News 5. “Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, dancing, running, different things that will kind of bear extra weight on your bones, which will help increase bone mass.”
Smoking is also a major risk factor for osteoporosis and bone thinning, as is drinking more than two to three alcoholic drinks per day on a consistent basis.
“If we are able to make these small changes, we can definitely help prevent future decline of our bone later on in life.”