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Combating Osteoporosis: Lifestyle Changes for Stronger Bones

Updated: Dec 31

How to avoid a future of assistive devices, a wheelchair, or being bedridden?


Karen Baltz Gibbs, Physical Therapist, Personal Trainer, Garage Training & Rehab Gym


The Oxford Dictionary defines Osteoporosis as “ a medical condition in which the

bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of

hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D.” The NIH (National

Institute of Health) states “ a bone disease that develops when bone mineral

density(BMD) and bone mass decreases, or when the quality or structure of bone

changes. This can lead to a decrease in bone strength that can increase the risk of

broken bones (fractures).”


Medication


The Mayo Clinic lists treatment when one receives this diagnosis as usually

medications called Bisphonates. These are, for example, Alendronate (Binosto,

Fosamax), Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia), Ibandronate and Zoledronic acid

(Reclast, Zometa). Other treatments include Denosumab, hormone-related

therapy, and bone-building medicines like Teriparatide (Bonsity, Forteo),

Abaloparatide (Tymlos) and Romosozumab(Evenity). I am a Licensed Physical

Therapist cannot per my license make recommendations but I can say, know the

side effects and long-term effects.


Exercise


It is also recommended by your Primary Physician to exercise which is the place

where I can help you. You might ask, what exercise? First, it is important to know

how exercise strengthens your bones. When you are doing exercises, muscles pull

on your bones. As you get stronger, they pull harder, which your bones respond

by renewing and improving the strength/density of the bone. As you get stronger,

movement gets easier but you need to continue to increase the intensity of the

resistance. This is known as progressive resistance training. This is what research

shows to be the best type of muscle strengthening for bone strength. A Physical

Therapist like myself will evaluate the exercise levels that are appropriate for your

health and mobility.

Nutrition

Another big impact on your bone health is Nutrition. Your diet is not evaluated as

much as it should be. Yes, there is confusing information out there.

Unfortunately, those with special interests, specialized and limited

education. The best providers to speak about this are the Licensed Dieticians who

have a comprehensive knowledge about the history of nutrition. This is what I’ve

seen in the medical world where some providers stick to what they have been

told and don’t step out to look at what else has been researched about Nutrition.

What most people are told is to have a “Healthy, balanced diet and to eat foods

containing calcium and Vitamin D.” Dairy, green leafy vegetables, sardines, dried

fruit, and fortified foods are on the list. Again, just giving people this general

information like telling people to just exercise is not enough.


There are two groups of knowledge (Researchers, Scientists, and Medical Experts)

regarding consuming dairy for strong bones. The first group is most known for the

strong message that dairy should not be avoided, to prevent

Osteoporosis. The second group states that the prevalence of Osteoporosis is highest

in those who consume Dairy. I believe everyone has to do their research

regarding any diagnosis and treatment plan. Dr Google may confuse you and

provide you with too much information. If you have any questions about any area

of advice, seek out the experts.


In this pursuit of a better quality of life and health, let us get started with

evaluating where you are at right now. We will work on progressive resistance

training, fall prevention, and moving forward.


Live Inspired,

Karen Baltz Gibbs, PT, DPT, CSCS, CMP, LMT



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