Boning up on Osteoporosis: June 3, 2013

Star Cole is closing in on 75 years old, but her bones aren’t giving her away.

“Well I think it’s because how active I am at the gym,” says Cole.

Experts believe women can improve their standing by adding a dose of exercise. Especially when they approach the change-of-life

“The most rapid decline in bone density is immediately post menopausal or peri-menopausal. When women stop menstruating there’s a rapid loss,” says Dr. Fletcher Reynolds, orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

Osteoporosis results in weak, brittle bones and poses a heightened risk for falls.

“We see people on a daily basis that have simple falls and they break their hips, they break their spine,” says Dr. Reynolds.

It can even alter an outward appearance.

“The classic example of osteoporosis is kind of the humpback elderly women use to get. Those are from compression fractures that cause the spine to curve,” says Dr. Reynolds.

Research suggests one of the biggest ‘break-throughs’ may come from addressing the issue early on. Starting at age 35 women begin to lose bone mass. That’s when many start to boost their body with calcium supplements. But there are other pro-active steps they can take.

“The other thing that can be done are weight-bearing exercises such as walking. Diet can be helpful as far as eating yogurt and milk and things that have high calcium content,” says Dr. Reynolds.

Cole isn’t taking the threat of osteoporosis lying down.

“I do Zumba four days a week, I swim for two. I do free weights and also machine weights,” says Cole.

Her checkups give her peace of mind- that her bones are holding up, just fine.

“Got to keep them strong,” says Cole.