Looks like a perfect day for a house call!
Physician, author and nutrition expert Dr. Ian Smith dropped by to reveal (and answer!) three of the most important questions you should be asking your doctor — including this very important concern, especially for postmenopausal women.
"I'm an active 71-year-old woman," shares our audience member Sheryl, "but I'm always worried about falling and breaking a bone… especially in the winter once it gets icy. How concerned do I need to be?"
She's certainly not alone. "My mom is 84, and she's had a couple of really terrible spills in the winter," says Rachael. "This is very serious."
And Dr. Ian couldn't agree more. "Bone mass is an issue, and osteoporosis can be an issue," he says, adding, "You can lose up to 20 percent of your bone mass in the 5 to 7 years after menopause." And that puts you at an increased risk for fracture.
Equally serious, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) says that your risk for fracture is equal to your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer — combined.
What Puts You at Risk for Osteoporosis?
According to the NOF, there are a number of things that can put you at risk for fracture, including: prior fracture as an adult, age, low Bone Mineral Density, falling, excessive thinness, cigarette smoking and parental history of hip fracture.
How Do You Know If You Have Osteoporosis?
Get a bone scan. The NOF recommends getting a bone scan — known as DEXA or DXA — every two years. So if you're a woman over the age of 65 or a man over the age of 70, and it's been two years since your last one — or you've never had one — make sure to talk to your doctor about it.
Is There a Cure for Osteoporosis?
Sadly, no — but that doesn't mean you can't be proactive! If you have osteoporosis, you should talk to your doctor about how to treat it. Dr. Ian says that by treating it, you can potentially slow it down or halt its progression. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is not a normal sign of aging; it is a chronic disease that needs to be taken seriously, especially if you are at high risk for fracture.
So, what can you do to help maintain healthy bones? You can start by upping your calcium and vitamin D intake. (And remember, both are crucial, because you need vitamin D to absorb the calcium!) Dr. Ian says to stock your meals with white beans, black-eyed peas, almonds, sesame seeds, salmon, tuna, oats and mushrooms to get a combination of both.
He also prescribes a little exercise — both weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening. The two will work in tandem to keep your bones strong!
As always, if you have any concerns, Dr. Ian says you should talk to your doctor.
And to learn more about osteoporosis, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation's website at https://www.nof.org/.
But osteoporosis isn't the only subject Dr. Ian discussed! The author also answered this question, from Dana:
"I hate to admit this but I have no idea if I've ever had my cholesterol checked. When I go to the doctor, they talk about panels and instead of asking questions, I just nod my head and assume no news is good news. I'm a single mom and I want to live to be 100 years old so it's time to be proactive. When it comes to cholesterol results, what do I need to know?"
Get Dr. Ian's answer in the video below.
Plus, have you ever wondered this (like Deana)?
"I'm a teacher and staying hydrated during the day is hard. I know I'm not drinking enough water, but I'm curious, how much water should I be drinking?"
Here's what Dr. Ian had to say about that: