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Preparing for and avoiding osteoporosis is possible - but you have to see the warning signs first.

Before delving into symptoms, let's review the issue itself: osteoporosis, which is a disease of the bones. If your bone mineral density falls beneath a certain point, and your bones have become more porous than solid, you may be diagnosed with it.

Detection commonly happens at an advanced stage, usually triggered when we break a bone, from an innocent fall or bump that can render you bedridden due to frailty or fracture.

The most accurate test to determine your bone mineral density is called a DEXA scan. It is a dual X-ray that measures how porous your bones are. It is the best way to find out your bone strength so that you can make the necessary lifestyle adjustments to keep osteoporosis at bay. If you haven't already been tested, here are some warning signs to watch for.

Watch for These Possible Symptoms of Osteoporosis
1. A bone break or fracture that happens from a low impact fall or bump
2. Bone pain
3. Loss of height over time, or degrading posture
4. Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
5. Increases in incidences and severity of dental problems

If any of these are familiar to you it's time to get a DEXA scan to accurately test your bones.
If you find your bone density is low, consider increasing your activity, getting some daily sunshine whenever possible (not much here in Vancouver these days),  and eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.  

If you are less than perfect in any of these plans you should also take a good calcium supplement - and that means most of us.  What kind of calcium supplement is best?  In our next issue we will discuss the enormous differences between calcium and calcium.  That's not a typo - not all calcium is created equal.  Some can do more harm than good.

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