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ChristianaCare
Strong Bones Program

Treatment for Osteoporosis

What you can do about bone fragility

It’s never too early to think about building healthy bones. Even through childhood and adolescence, the decisions we make, foods we eat and many other factors can lead to a lower bone density that will result in osteoporosis years later.

It’s also never too late to take control of your bone health, or take steps to reduce your risk.

Step 1: Get regular exercise

To help build and maintain bone density, you should engage in two types of exercise:

  • Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, tennis, hiking, jogging, stair step machines, treadmill, and low impact aerobics.
  • Muscle-strengthening exercise, such as using exercise bands or weights.
  • If you do not exercise routinely, talk with your doctor about which types of exercise would best suit your lifestyle.

Step 2: Prevent falls

Each year 1 out of 3 people over the age of 65 will fall.

To avoid falls:

  • Discuss medications with your doctor that may increase your risk for falling.
  • Have a routine eye exam every two years or sooner if you notice a change in your vision.
  • Stay active by exercising routinely.
  • Check your home for hazards that may cause you to fall. Hazards that may cause you to fall in your home include throw rugs, electrical cords, uneven thresholds, and clutter.
  • Use night lights to light a path from your room to the bathroom at night and handrails for assistance in the bathroom or on a stairway.

Step 3: Get enough calcium

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for life and something that most Americans do not get enough of on a daily basis. Adults 50 and older need 1,200 mg of calcium daily.

Foods high in calcium include:

  • Dairy products, such as low-fat milk, cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, yogurt.
  • Green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, bok choy, collard greens, okra, Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, mustard greens.
  • Seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, sardines.

Calcium supplements are also available without a prescription if you cannot get enough calcium in your diet.

Step 4: Keep Vitamin D levels on track

Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting bones. We need vitamin D to absorb calcium and keep our bones strong and healthy. Current recommendations are that adults 50 and older get 800-1000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Sources of Vitamin D:

  • Sunlight exposure (use caution with too much sun exposure).
  • Fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna.
  • Egg yolks.
  • Liver.
  • Most milks and some orange juices.

Vitamin D supplements are also an option, and most calcium supplements and multivitamins contain vitamin D.

Step 5: Talk with your doctor about starting a medication

With changes in lifestyle and, if necessary, medication, it’s possible to halt and perhaps even reverse some bone loss.