Take steps to keep healthy bones

We all need to look after our bones. Osteoporosis can affect both men and women. What is osteoporosis and what can we do to keep healthy bones?

What to do

  • Ask your doctor for an osteoporosis assessment. Your doctor may suggest a bone mineral density test to check your bone strength.
  • Ask your doctor about suitable exercises, calcium and vitamin D.
  • If you have recently started a medicine to treat osteoporosis and would like to learn more about your medicine, ask your doctor about a Home Medicines Review.
  • If you have osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about what you can do to help prevent falls. A Home Medicines Review can help to identify medicines that may be causing dizziness.

What is osteoporosis?

2.2 million Australians have osteoporosis, a disease where bones become fragile and can break more easily.

In Australia, one in three men and one in two women over 60 years will have a fracture due to osteoporosis.

Many things increase the risk of osteoporosis such as getting older and lifestyle choices. Some medical conditions and medicines can also affect bone strength.

If you have osteoporosis, even a minor fall or bump can cause a serious fracture.

What can I do to keep healthy bones?

Important lifestyle changes can help keep healthy bones:

  • eating a healthy diet with the right amount of calcium - your doctor may suggest a supplement
  • improving muscle strength and balance with suitable exercises
  • stopping smoking
  • limiting alcohol intake
  • getting or making enough vitamin D.
Have an osteoporosis assessment

Many people are unaware that they have osteoporosis. They may even think that the symptoms of spine fracture such as back pain, height loss or rounding of the spine are just a normal part of getting older.

Ask your doctor for an osteoporosis assessment. Your doctor may refer you for a bone mineral density (BMD) test to check your bone strength.

I have osteoporosis – what can I do?

If you have osteoporosis, the chance of having a fracture can be reduced by:

  • making lifestyle changes
  • taking osteoporosis medicines
  • taking steps to prevent falls.
Osteoporosis medicines

Your doctor may recommend an osteoporosis medicine. These medicines increase bone density and help stop bone loss.

Steps to prevent falls

The best way to prevent fractures is to reduce your chance of falling:

  • wear appropriate footwear
  • have your eyes tested regularly
  • remove potential hazards around the home - a DVA HomeFront assessment may be helpful
  • talk to your doctor about a tailored exercise program to improve balance
  • talk to your doctor about your medicines.

For more information: Talk to your doctor and pharmacist.

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