Here is a list of the top 5 osteoporosis priorities for anyone who learns that they have this condition:
1. Understand your DXA scan sheet
A better understanding of the situation is at the top of the list for the top 5 osteoporosis priorities. Frequent physician will order a DXA scan, and send patients to a lab for the scan to be completed. Once receiving the results however, many physicians will diagnose or not, but also not share the actual scan information. Patients can ask for copies of the scans, as patients always have a right to their own medical information. Traditionally physicians did not share this type of information because patients had no ability to interpret the results. Now this dynamic has changed due to the fact that many patients have become educated on the subject of interpreting medical test results. Information available on websites such as this one, as well as WebMD and Livestrong have enabled this. You have the right to your own medical information; do not let anyone tell you otherwise. See this related article to better understand how to read a DXA scan.
2. Research family history of fractures
Research has found that genetic history and bone mass are related. It is one of the risk factors if an immediate family member, especially a mother or a father has had low bone mass density or osteoporosis. If evidence exists that low bone mass or osteoporosis has existed in the family, Your physician must take this into account when determining if a DXA scan is required. Typically a physician will order scans earlier and with greater frequency with a family history of low bone mass density.
3. Add or increase the amount of dark green vegetables to your daily diet
The majority of minerals and nutrients that are required for building stronger bone mass density exist naturally in dark green leafy vegetables. From calcium, the main building block of bone, to other vitamins and minerals that manage uptake of minerals into the bone, dark green vegetables include most. Examples:
- Potassium, found in broccoli, lettuce, asparagus and collard greens.
- Magnesium, found in nuts, seeds, and many darker green vegetables. Spinach is one of the best sources of magnesium.
- Manganese, found in almost all plants and fungi.
- Vitamin K, found in kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, broccoli, as well as other dark green vegetables.
4. Reduce intake of caffeine
Excessive amounts of caffeine intake have been affiliated with low bone mass density. There have been correlations between low bone mass density and high caffeine intake has been seen through research. Some studies define 6 to 8 cups to be excessive, but this can be a poor guideline for some, as the strength of the coffee is in question, as to how many actual milligrams of caffeine is contained. Also the fact that many coffeehouses sell a 20-ounce cup of coffee and individuals may think of this as one cup. In analyzing the habits of an individual, it is important to attempt to determine how many milligrams of caffeine are consumed in a typical day, then make the determination if this amount seems high or not. The number to attempt to stay underneath is 600 mg of caffeine per day. To date, there has not been a study showing caffeine intake less than 600 mg to effect blood calcium levels in a negative way. Caffeine and bone density is a controversial topic as many believe its not the caffeine that negatively impacts bone density, but other affiliated chemicals that coincide with its intake, such as dairy, or phosphoric acid that is contained in soda drinks.
5. Drastically limit or eliminate tobacco consumption
This discovery was made over 20 years ago, but now research indicates a direct relationship between tobacco use and decreases in bone mass density. Identifying the exact risk factor has been complex for researchers as other risk factors are often associated with tobacco use. Having a lower level of physical activity, for example can also contribute to low bone mass density, but is associated with tobacco use simply because compromised lung function keeps individuals from exercising. This forced researchers to have low confidence in the theory that smokers had low bone mass density was because of tobacco use alone.
Most studies suggest that smoking increases the risk of fracture based on how much tobacco is consumed. This means the problem is cumulative. Not all studies suggest this, but more research is being done to understand bone health with long-term smoking and general tobacco use. What should you do? Stop smoking as soon as possible.
– Dr. Leif Olson