Reduce Your Fracture Risk with Improved Bone Health
According to Michael Handy, MD, and Kevin Haddix, MD, orthopedic trauma surgeons in Greensboro and members of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff, healthy bones can reduce your risk of a break or fracture.
As you age, bones weaken. If you are over 50, female, smoke or have diabetes or certain other conditions, you are at risk for low bone density or osteoporosis. In the next few months, Cone Health plans to launch a fracture liaison service where patients can be referred to undergo specialized evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.
“In the past, patients often came to us after they broke their arm, hip or spine,” says Dr. Handy.
Adds Dr. Haddix, “By taking steps now, you can reduce your risk of broken bones in the future.”
First, vitamin D is critical to healthy bones. Both direct sunlight and dietary supplements are the primary sources of vitamin D.
“People in the modern era spend a lot of time inside so their vitamin D levels are often very low,” advises Dr. Haddix. “Taking a supplement could be helpful, not only for bone health but general health as well.”
“We recommend a daily vitamin D supplement of 1000-2000 units,” adds Keith Paul, PA-C. “Other health benefits include reduced heart disease, lower blood pressure and improved overall mood.”
In addition, weight-bearing exercise is critical to strong bones.
“Walking, squats and strength training can improve bone health,” affirms Paul who works closely with fracture patients.
“Not only do these exercises increase your bone density, they can also improve your balance to prevent future falls,” Dr. Handy adds.
Finally, many medications are used to treat osteoporosis. However, these medications need to be individualized and monitored to get the biggest benefit. Some medications can cause bones to thicken in a disorganized way and can increase risk of fractures if taken for too long, caution Drs. Handy and Haddix.
If you are concerned about your bone health, be proactive. Consult with your doctor or an orthopedist.
About the Providers
Michael Handy, MD, and Kevin Haddix, MD, are orthopedic trauma surgeons in Greensboro, North Carolina.