Osteoporosis Prevention

By Janice Bernick, Parish Nurse
Osteoporosis is a disorder of the bones characterized by decreased bone strength predisposing to an increased risk of broken bones. Normally, and throughout life, older bone is periodically broken down (by osteoclasts) and new bone is made (by osteoblasts). This process is called remodeling. Remodeling is orchestrated and targeted to a particular site in need of repair. If there is an oversupply of osteoclasts (too much bone breakdown) or an undersupply of osteoblasts (not enough bone builders), the stage is set for the development of osteoporosis.

Peak bone mass is the maximum bone mass achieved in life and generally occurs in the third decade of life, give or take a multitude of variables. Genetics, ethnic variation, environmental factors, lifestyle, history of chronic diseases and aging contribute to bone health. Having birthdays and estrogen deficiency are the two most critical factors for the development of osteoporosis in both men and women.

Osteoporosis is a disorder of the bones characterized by decreased bone strength predisposing to an increased risk of broken bones.

How can osteoporosis be prevented?

Nutrition and Diet
  • Calcium is needed to maintain strong bones and muscles. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women and men take in 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. Ideally, this would come from food sources such as milk (almond milk is good!), cheese, broccoli and almonds. Calcium supplements will also provide the needed mineral.
  • Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is crucial in helping your bones absorb calcium from your digestive system into your bloodstream. Although we do receive some vitamin D from the sun, we really need to get the majority of our daily need from foods and supplements. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 800-1,000 International Units (IU) per day.
  • Exercise! Its one of the best ways to preserve bone density and maintain muscle strength. Weight-bearing exercises such as dancing, walking and using a stationary bike are some of the simplest and effective exercises for bone health.

Prevent falls 
  • Yoga and Pilates are great ways to improve core strength and balance. 
  • You can also decrease your risk of a fall by wearing shoes with good traction, using caution around wet floors, looking where you are stepping and using extra caution in bad weather. 
  • Inside your home consider using nightlights, clear floors of clutter and loose rugs, don’t walk around in socks-wear slippers with a gripper sole, keep electrical cords out of the way and use a rubber mat and grip bars in the tub and shower.

Easier said than done, if you smoke tobacco-stop.
  • Tobacco smoke is one of the worst toxins for your bones. There are smoking cessation programs, medications and other methods you can discuss with your medical provider.

Limit alcohol intake 
  • According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, on average, 3 or more drinks per day is detrimental to bone health. Its not so good for your liver health either!

David, ancestor of Jesus, second king of Israel and father of Solomon, declares in the 32nd Psalm, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” But, “when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Think about that for a minute. Reflect on the Psalmist’s words. The hand of God was heavy upon David pressing him toward contrition, confession and repentance.

Then David says, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Now think about that! If we keep silent about our sin we experience emotional, physical and spiritual distress, BUT the truly repentant have every reason to rejoice and be glad in God’s gift of forgiveness, life and salvation. The blood of Jesus covers our every sin! We are made whole by the grace of God!
We approach the sacrament of the Lord’s supper with humbleness and contrition, acutely aware of our sins, just where we have missed the mark. However, after having received absolution and the assurance of forgiveness, being declared by God “not guilty” because of the price Jesus paid, we leave the celebration with a thankful and joyful heart, with full assurance of forgiveness, mercy and grace, praise God!

The blood of Jesus covers our every sin! We are made whole by the grace of God!

If you struggle with one of the things that leads to Osteoporosis find a faithful friend to walk next to you as you work towards a better and healthier lifestyle. Let them support and encourage you and speak grace to you as you try and try again. Changing your lifestyle is difficult and doing it with someone who can speak grace and forgiveness back to you in one of the most helpful things you can do! Jesus wants to give you an abundant and full life. As we strive to live the life He has for us He will bless it.  

Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

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