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Preventing Osteoporosis: Tips for Maintaining Bone Health
By Dr. Samantha DeMauro



Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D

The recommended daily dosage of calcium for premenopausal women and men is 1000mg, while post-menopausal women and men over 70 should aim for 1200mg. For vitamin D, 800 to 1000 international units (IUs) are recommended for all ages. Check with your doctor to determine what levels are best for you. Foods rich in calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Hard Cheeses
  • Yogurt
  • Sardines
  • Bread
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Dried Apricots
  • Dried Figs
  • Rice Pudding
  • Ice Cream
  • Custard
  • Baked Beans
  • Enriched Orange Juice
  • Tofu
  • Chickpeas
  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Sesame Seeds

Foods rich in Vitamin D include:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified Milk
  • Fortified Orange Juice
  • Egg Yolks
  • Beef Liver
  • Fortified Cereal

Dr. Samantha DeMauroBone health is something that few of us wake up and think about, but the impact bone loss and subsequent fractures can ultimately have on our quality of life is significant. Osteoporosis, or porous bones, is a disease that causes bones to become thinner and weaker than normal. Occurring in the hips, spine, wrists, or other bones, it currently affects 10 million Americans; eighty percent are women. Samantha DeMauro, M.D., who specializes in the treatment of osteoporosis at Allegheny Health Network, says, "There are many risk factors that contribute to developing osteoporosis. Some you can control, some you can't." Board-certified in endocrinology, diabetes, metabolism, and internal medicine, Dr. DeMauro has a special interest in polycystic ovary syndrome, parathyroid and other thyroid disorders, and osteoporosis. "Factors that you cannot control include gender, age, ethnicity, and family history," comments Dr. DeMauro. "But there is much we can control."

Factors You Cannot Change That Increase Your Risk of Osteoporosis:

  • Gender: women are at a much higher risk than men
  • Age: risk increases as you get older
  • Ethnicity: women of Caucasian and Asian descent
  • Family History: parents or siblings with osteoporosis or hip fractures
  • Menopause: post-menopausal or experiencing early menopause
  • Sex Hormones: reduced estrogen levels at menopause or during certain cancer treatments

Factors You Can Change To Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis:

  • Eating a diet high in calcium and vitamin D
  • Replacing a sedentary lifestyle with an active one
  • Limiting alcoholic drinks to two per day
  • Quitting smoking

Dr. DeMauro recommends several types of exercise to help maintain strong bones and muscles as you age:

  • Weight-bearing exercises, including walking, dancing, hiking, and stair climbing
  • Strength exercises, such as free weights, elastic bands, rubber tubing, and weight machines
  • Flexibility exercises, including stretching and gentle yoga
  • Balance exercises, such as tai chi

If your bones are porous, a simple fall could cause a fracture. By taking a few precautions, Dr. DeMauro adds, you can help prevent falls. Suggestions include:

  • Keeping a clutter-free environment
  • Installing sturdy handrails on all stairs
  • Repairing loose or broken flooring and torn rugs
  • Cleaning up spills immediately
  • Using non-skid floor wax
  • Using rubber mats in your tub or shower
  • Making sure you have enough light
  • Using night lights
  • Wearing non-slip shoes

During your annual physical exam, you should be checked to see if you have lost height, weight or if you have back pain. Dr. DeMauro recommends, "Starting at age 50, it is extremely important to be tested for your height to determine bone loss and to begin screenings for post-menopausal women over 65, men over 70, and women and men 50-70 with risk factors for osteoporosis."

Bone density testing can be done several different ways. The most common and accurate way is a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan that uses low-dose x-rays. Bone mineral density (BMD) tests are used to:

  • Diagnose bone loss and osteoporosis
  • See how well osteoporosis medicine is working
  • Predict your risk of future bone fractures

"With information from a bone density test, you and your physician can decide what prevention or treatment steps are best for you," adds Dr. DeMauro.

After receiving her medical training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Medical School, Dr. DeMauro completed an internal medicine residency at Yale New Haven Hospital and an endocrinology and metabolism fellowship at Yale University. For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. DeMauro, call (724) 941-7490.

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