May is National Osteoporosis Month, which focuses on prioritizing bone health and raising awareness for how you can prevent the brittle bone condition. Today, more than 53 million Americans are at an increased risk for bone fractures, but you can make simple lifestyle changes both at work and at home to avoid joining the statistic. Here are three ways you can lower your risk.
1. Get moving at work.
Sedentary lifestyles are on the rise, and this frequent inactivity can increase your risk of a number of health issues including osteoporosis. Try to incorporate the following types of exercises into your weekly routine both at home and at work:
- Muscle-strengthening exercises: To increase bone density and structure, keep a pair of dumbbells or ankle weights at your desk to use throughout the day. Take productive breaks by doing 10-15 leg raises with ankle weights while seated at your desk. If you want to stand up and move around, try weighted squats or lunges.
- Weight-bearing exercises: Running, jogging, and walking are ideal exercises to help you maintain your current bone density. The repetitive motions of targeted muscle groups will encourage new bone tissue to form and will also improve your balance in order to prevent any fracture-inducing falls. Your lunch break can serve as the prime opportunity to get outside and get your steps in.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing desk exercises, talk to your company about beginning a wellness program that encourages a healthy working environment for all employees in more ways than one.
2. Talk to your doctor about your medications.
7 out of 10 Americans take at least one prescription drug, but we don’t often think that our medications can spur on other health conditions. Osteoporosis can be drug-induced, so it’s important to bring up concerns with your doctor if you think you may be at risk for brittle bones. Two common prescriptions that can lead to osteoporosis include:
- Antidepressants: Certain drugs used to treat depression, including Prozac and Zoloft, have been linked to loss of bone mineral density and an increased risk of fractures.
- SGLT2 Inhibitors: This type of medication helps type 2 diabetics regulate their blood sugar levels. Although this is life-saving for many patients, the specific SGLT2 Inhibitor Invokana has been shown to increase a patient’s risk of bone fractures and ketoacidosis.
It’s important to note that any medication comes with its own benefits and downsides, so be sure to discuss with your doctor any concerns you may have.
3. Limit your caffeine intake.
We’ve all been told the benefits of caffeine. Studies have shown that it could prevent Alzheimer’s, increase endurance while working out, and even reduce the risk of health conditions like type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
But unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our bone health. Too much caffeine can actually interfere with our ability to absorb calcium, the nutrient that’s essential for strong bones. However, you likely don’t have to worry about your caffeine intake if you’re getting an adequate amount of calcium in your diet. If the thought of turning down caffeine in any form during the work day is scary, try limiting your daily intake to 300mg (about three cups of coffee) and eat foods high in calcium like yogurt and kale.
How will you prioritize bone health?
Osteoporosis is often referred to as the “silent disease” because it doesn’t show any symptoms until you experience your first brittle bone fracture. Whether it’s through proper exercise at the office and at home or through attempts to lower your caffeine intake, any positive efforts are a step in the right direction for stronger, healthier bones.
Walker Tracker would like to thank Consumer Safety for providing the following content on Osteoporosis awareness and the steps to take to potentially prevent it. Follow the organization on Twitter to stay up to date on health news, safety alerts, and trending consumer topics.