SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More than 53 million Americans are at an increased risk for bone fractures, according to the National Institute of Health.
The good news is that experts say there are many ways you can lower your risk of developing osteoporosis.
When warm weather appears in KELOLAND Alta Gaarder says she used to be found in the garden.
Now, she’s doing less planting and more lifting.
“All kinds of machines, I work with all kinds of the machines and work with balance,” Gaarder said.
Gaarder is living with osteoporosis and says the disease has pushed her to get more exercise and change up her diet. Dr. Alla Zamulko says the bone disease can be fatal, and right now we’re experiencing an epidemic.
“It’s causing decreased bone density, bone mass. It makes bones weak, fragile, to the point that patients may develop fragility fracture without any significant trauma, so low impact,” Zamulko said.
Zamulko says the earlier people begin making lifestyle changes such as consuming more vitamin D and calcium as well as weight bearing exercises, the better.
“There’s a lot that can be done in changing lifestyle, which is free of side effects and free of any cost,” Zamulko said.
Experts say women age 65 and up should begin receiving dexa scans, and women with risk factors should begin even sooner.
Without knowing you have osteoporosis, falling could result in a bone fracture, which Zamulko can lead to more issues down the road.
With that in mind, Gaarder says keep moving but do it safely.
“Use a cane if you have to, whatever. You need to be very careful, think about what’s on the floor, and did I put that down right? I don’t want to get my feet tangled,” Gaarder said.
Zamulko adds that it’s important to start doing preventative tasks now before the problem arises.
To read about what a bone density test consists of, click here.