What is osteoporosis
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
There are a variety of tests available which help screen for osteoporosis or osteopenia, but one reliable method is a bone density test which helps:
- Detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs
- Predict your chances of fracturing in the future
- Determine your rate of bone loss and/or monitor the effects of treatment if the test is repeated at intervals of a year or more.
You can have a bone density test done at Women & Infants by calling 401-274-1122, extension 47040. Evening appointments are available for your convenience. A doctor's order is required for a bone density test. To find a doctor, please call our Physician Referral line at 1-800-921-9299 or check our Find a Doctor.
How to keep bones healthy?
A healthy lifestyle is important for keeping bones strong. The three major keys to prevention are:
- Diet - Make sure you have an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. The recommended daily allowance of calcium is 1200mg-1500mg. Vitamin D helps promote the body's ability to absorb dietary calcium. The main source of dietary calcium and vitamin D is in dairy products. For example, an 8-ounce glass of whole or skim milk contains 300mg of calcium, one-third the recommended daily allowance.
- Exercise - Weight-bearing exercises such as walking or jogging and resistance training 2-3 times a week are beneficial. The advantages of exercise last only as long as you maintain the exercise program. Exercise alone cannot prevent or cure osteoporosis.
- Estrogen & Alendronate - Both estrogen and alendronate are recognized as components of osteoporosis prevention and/or treatment. Women who have regular menstrual cycles enjoy the natural hormonal protection of their own body's estrogen. Young women without menses, post-menopausal or women who had their ovaries removed before the age of 50 may wish to discuss the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with their physician.
- Alcohol - Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol leeches calcium, thus reducing bone strength.
- Smoking - If you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces the blood supply to bones, and nicotine slows the production of bone-forming cells.