Stay Bone Healthy This New Year

(ARA) – Winter weather with snow and ice. Holiday parties with tasty treats. The holidays can be a lot of fun, but it is also important for those who have osteoporosis to learn how the season might impact their bone health and what they can do to make healthy New Year’s resolutions.

Osteoporosis, a disease which causes bones to become brittle and more likely to break, threatens nearly 44 million Americans, 55 percent of which are age 50 or older. Nearly one in two women over age 50 may experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in her remaining lifetime. For those at higher risk for fractures, or broken bones, a fall on an icy walkway can be dangerous. In addition to the risk of falling, the holiday hustle and bustle can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet and commit to regular exercise, which are important for people with osteoporosis.

“People suffering from osteoporosis can take extra precautions to avoid suffering an osteoporotic fracture, including being extra vigilant about falling in inclement weather during the winter months,” said Barbara Dehn, nurse practitioner at the Women Physicians Ob/Gyn Medical Group, Mt. View, California. “It’s also important to be more mindful of getting appropriate amounts of calcium and vitamin D while indulging on holiday foods. Post-menopausal women should also see a doctor regularly and follow a treatment plan as directed.”

Thinking ahead to the New Year, it’s always a good idea to commit to living a healthier lifestyle. This includes seeing a doctor regularly. If you are concerned about osteoporosis, a doctor can determine whether you should have a bone mass measurement, also called bone mineral density or BMD test, and can also prescribe treatments to help prevent loss of bone mass. Loss of bone mass means that bones get thinner and are more likely to fracture.

“If you’re a post-menopausal woman, it’s important to see your doctor about osteoporosis screening. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor may consider several treatment options. One prescription medicine – once monthly Boniva (ibandronate sodium) tablets – is used to treat and help prevent osteoporosis in women after menopause. Boniva helps increase bone mass and helps reduce the chance of having a spinal fracture (break). It is not known how long Boniva works for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and you should see your doctor regularly to determine if Boniva is still right for you,” Dehn said. “This coming New Year, be sure to take your medication as directed by your doctor to help prevent bone loss in 2012.”

Here are some tips for a safe and healthy holiday season and New Year:

Keep yourself safe from a fall

Stay alert and focuse

Wear well-fitting shoes with good treads, especially when walking outside on snowy or icy terrain

Use night lights when navigating your home in the evenin

Make sure holiday decorations do not block or narrow walkways – indoors and outdoors

Have your vision checked regularly


Maintain a bone-healthy diet

Remember that getting appropriate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health

Women age 50 and older need approximately 1,200 mg of calcium each day and foods like milk and dairy products, legumes and certain green vegetables are the best sources of calcium

Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and it is recommended that men and women over age 50 get about 800-,1000 international units of vitamin D each day

People can receive vitamin D through sunlight, dietary supplements and through vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish and vitamin-D fortified orange juice


Make and keep healthy New Year’s resolutions

Get active – speak with your physician about activities you can do to build or maintain bone strength

Take osteoporosis medications as directed by your healthcare professional

Find a support system – visit to join a free program that includes a welcome kit, quarterly newsletters with helpful tips on leading a healthy and active life, and monthly e-mail reminders to help you remember to take your medication

Talk to your doctor for more information or if you have questions about your treatment.

NJ Doctors