Osteoporosis is a disease of losing the bone mineral density (BMD) below a safety level. 

1. MYTH: Osteoporosis Only Affects Women

Truth: Osteoporosis is more prominent in the women especially after menopause.  However, the loss of bone mineral density as a person ages happens in both male and female at a rate about 1- 1.5% per year after an age of 60. 

Prolonged use of steroids in chronic diseases can trigger osteoporosis and this effect is true to both male and female.

2. MYTH: Osteoporosis is an Aging Process and Unavoidable. 

Truth: Natural loss of bone density is an aging process but osteoporosis is a pathological phenomenon

It is a result of out-balanced activity of the bone-building cells and bone-absorbing cells. The activities of these two cells can be modified through medication and exercises. Therefore, osteoporosis can be modified or even prevented.

3. MYTH: I am taking Calcium and Vitamin D. I am good.

Truth: More and more recent studies are pointing to the suggestion that osteoporosis is not related to the lack of calcium in our body but the lack of the ability to use the calcium and to lay it down in our bone

It is suggested that Vitamin K may be more helpful in that respect.

4. MYTH: I love water. I swim every day. I have enough exercise.

Truth: Swimming is an excellent exercise. It is good for our lungs, hearts, joints and muscles. However, when it comes to the bone, it needs mechanical impacting force. The buoyancy of water cancels all the impact. Bone growth needs weight bearing exercises.

5. MYTH: I walk every day. I should be okay.

Truth: Walking is important and it is an essential component in the osteoporosis program. The two common sites for osteoporotic fracture are the vertebral column (spine) and the femoral neck (hip). Bone growth is a response to the mechanical stress to that particular area. Therefore, exercises need to be specific to bring the necessary stress to that area. Walking is a very general exercise, and higher impact activities, such as jogging is suggested to decrease bone mineral density loss.

Peggy Hau, PT, MSc PT,  DPT  is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy at Mettler Center. 

Call 217-398-9800 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a physical therapist.