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Queens Chronicle

PRIME TIMES: 60 Plus The truth about osteoporosis

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Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:57 pm, Thu Sep 5, 2019.

Commonly known as the “silent disease,” osteoporosis is a condition where your bones lose density and become more fragile. It’s described as silent because it typically progresses with no obvious symptoms until a fall or misstep leads to a fracture. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to build bone strength, prevent osteoporosis and reduce fracture risk.

True or false: Osteoporosis is an inevitable part of aging.

False. Bone loss, even osteoporosis, can affect you in your 20s, 30s and 40s. While your age and gender may play a large role, you can control many of the risk factors that lead to excessive bone loss, fractures and osteoporosis with medication, a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise. The truth is you can have strong bones at any age.

What causes it?

According to the National Institute on Aging, osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones to the point where they break easily. Although many people think it’s caused by a lack of calcium, it’s actually caused by a lack of new bone mass. When you’re young, your body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new bone tissue — but at around age 30, bone mass stops increasing. So, as you enter your 40s and 50s, bone may be broken down faster than it can be replaced.

Is it preventable?

Decreased bone mass is a part of aging, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to develop osteoporosis. Remember: Your bones are alive! They are living tissue, constantly repairing themselves. That means it is never too late to take care of them and lower your risk of breaks.

You can help your bones stay strong by eating a healthy diet, rich in nutrients like vitamin K, magnesium and strontium.

And don’t be afraid to get moving! Regular weight-bearing exercise can reduce the risk of breaks because it strengthens bones and helps you stay strong and agile. EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care in Cambria Heights offers free health and wellness classes, including low-impact exercise like yoga, zumba and power walking. Visit emblemhealth.com/neighborhood to find a location near you.

If you are prone to fracture or if you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, we strongly recommend consulting with your doctor about which types of exercise are safe for you.

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