Osteoporosis FAQs with Anthony Echols, APRN-CNP

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens your bones. Anthony Echols, APRN-CNP, who specializes in orthopedics at Utica Park Clinic, answered a few frequently asked questions about preventing and managing osteoporosis.

What are some effective daily self-care strategies for managing osteoporosis?

Factors that contribute to developing osteoporosis include calcium and vitamin D deficiency, lack of exercise, tobacco use and excessive alcohol use. Like most things, prevention is the key! 

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in calcium and Vitamin D.
  2. Regular, weight-bearing exercise.  It’s as simple as walking every day. Not just in the store or to and from the parking lots we encounter daily. 30 minutes of sustained walking, whether it’s on a treadmill or in your neighborhood, is an effective strategy. Weight-bearing exercise does not imply lifting weights at the gym...your body weight is plenty!
  3. Stop smoking. Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that can affect bone health. Nicotine causes small blood vessels in the extremities to constrict or narrow. Regular tobacco use will cause long term damage and lead to vascular (vessel) disease.
  4. Limit alcohol use. Our bones undergo a process known as “remodeling” throughout life. Bone is tissue, just like skin or other organs. Long term alcohol use, beginning in our teenage years, interferes with the production of cells known as osteoblasts.  Think of osteoblasts as “baby bone cells”. These osteoblasts must mature into osteocytes (“adult bone cells”) to strengthen bones throughout life.

Are there any natural supplements or remedies that have been shown to support bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis?

The business of supplements for good health is HUGE. The essential elements for good bone health include calcium, Vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and Vitamin K. Check your multivitamin for these elements and the % of recommended daily allowance (RDA). There are several brands of OTC bone health supplements that include all the above essential elements.

What is the recommended calcium and vitamin D intake for individuals aiming to prevent osteoporosis?

For adults ages 18-50, the general recommended daily intake of Calcium is 1000mg and 600 units of Vitamin D. Keep in mind that calcium and Vitamin D are present in dairy, fruits and vegetables. Supplements may not be required with a healthy, balanced diet.
Anthony encourages patients to talk to their provider about routine testing and bone density scans in addition to the management and prevention of osteoporosis. Anthony is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment or learn more, visit this link or call 918-579-2300.