by Alfred M. Faulkner, DO, PC on May 29, 2022May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon wants you to understand the dangers and risk factors for this disease and how you can prevent it from coming for you. Dr. Alfred Faulkner in Dearborn and Jackson has treated countless patients with bone fractures and other injuries due to the thin, weakened bones caused by osteoporosis. How Common is Osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that degrades your bones, making them thin, fragile and more susceptible to breakage. The wrists, spine and hips seem to be more prone to fractures in patients with osteoporosis. According to the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation, around 10 million Americans 50 and older have osteoporosis, and an additional 44 million have low bone density, which increases their risk for bone fractures. Broken bones caused by osteoporosis are responsible for more hospitalizations than breast cancer, strokes and heart attacks combined. What Are the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis? While anyone can develop osteoporosis, women are the most susceptible. You can reduce some risk factors for this degenerative disease, but most are out of your control, including getting older, having a small or thin frame, having a family history of osteoporosis, being of white or Asian descent and having low bone density. However, certain medications can also lead to or increase the risk for osteoporosis, such as clonazepam, gabapentin and phenobarbital. Osteoporosis is often a “silent” disease, and you may not realize you have weak bones until you break one. Can You Prevent Osteoporosis? Prevention is key for this disease. There are many ways you can work to reduce your risk of osteoporosis in your everyday life, including: Regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises to build and maintain strong bone density. A diet rich in calcium; it’s recommended that women age 50 and older take 1,200mg of calcium every day. Vitamin D supplements; take 600 international units (IU) of Vitamin D every day if you are 70 years of age or younger and 800IU if you are over age 70. Eat plenty of protein to increase bone mineral density. Maintain a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption. Ask your doctor about medications to lower osteoporosis risk and prevent falls. What are Treatments for Osteoporosis? Osteoporosis treatments primarily consist of medications that range from a weekly pill to ones taken monthly. Quarterly or annual IV infusions can also treat the disease. Improving your lifestyle to include regular exercise and a healthy diet is essential for osteoporosis treatment to strengthen weak bones and prevent further bone loss. Contact the Michigan Bone Doctor in Dearborn and JacksonDr. Faulkner and our team have treated many bone fractures caused by osteoporosis. If you’ve suffered a fall or fracture, contact our offices in Dearborn and Jackson, Michigan, today.