What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones and weakened bones are more likely to break (fracture). Osteoporosis affects both men and women, but postmenopausal women are most at risk. To help prevent osteoporosis, you need to exercise and nourish your bones throughout your life.
How do you prevent osteoporosis?
- Your body needs calcium to build and repair bones, but it can't make calcium on its own. Eating calcium-rich foods like low-fat plain yogurt, cheddar cheese, low-fat or nonfat milk, salmon, cooked white beans, kale, collards, or even oranges can help meet your calcium needs. If you can't get enough, you may want to speak with your health care provider to see if you should take a calcium supplement.
- Certain factors can speed up bone loss or decrease bone growth. For example, alcohol, cigarettes, and certain medicines reduce bone mass. Also, some foods make it hard for your body to absorb calcium.
- Exercise is a wonderful way to strengthen your bones and prevent falls and injury that can affect your bones. Regular exercise like swimming, walking and weight training are great options.
Screening for Osteoporosis
A bone mineral density (BMD) test is the best way to check your bone health. This non-invasive, painless test determines normal bone density, low bone density (osteopenia), or osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends women 65 years and older and all men 70 years and older be screened. It also recommends postmenopausal women younger than 65 years, and anyone who has risk factors, be screened for low bone mass.
BMD tests may need to be repeated every two years, depending on your medical history and other risk factors. Ask your healthcare provider if you should have a BMD test.
Contact our Care Management team at 1-877-878-8785 and select option 2 to learn more about this service.
Reducing your risk for fractures
The most common fracture sites in people with osteoporosis are the wrist, spine, and hip. These fractures are often caused by accidents and falls. All fractures are painful and may limit what you can do, but hip fractures are especially serious. They often need surgery and it can take months to recover. To reduce your risk for fractures:
- Get regular exercise: walking, swimming or weight training are great options.
- Eat foods rich in calcium, or take a calcium supplement.
- Make your home safe to help avoid accidents.
- Take extra precautions not to fall in risky areas, such as icy sidewalks.
Based on guidelines women ages 67-85 who suffered a fracture should have a BMD test or prescription for a drug to treat osteoporosis. If you suffered a fracture, ask your provider if you should have a test. If you are unable to get the screening in a timely manner, you may be able to get an in-home BMD screening.
- The screening is offered at no cost to you.
- It's convenient--a health care professional will come to your home to conduct the bone mineral density heel scan. It will last 15 minutes.
- The screening is valuable. We'll share the results with you an your doctor to support your current care.
- If the test indicates low bone density, your doctor may recommend weight-bearing exercises or prescribe a medication to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call your doctor or the customer service number on the back of your ID card.
Recommended Daily Calcium Needs:
|14 - 18 years old||1,300 mg|
|19 - 30 years old||1,000 mg|
|31 - 50 years old||1,000 mg|
|51 - 70 years old, women||1,200 mg|
|51 - 70 years old, men||1,000 mg|