Because people with osteoporosis are more prone to fractures, self-care and lifestyle changes are essential. These measures can promote bone health and help prevent falls and broken bones.

Falls are a common cause of broken bones in people with osteoporosis. However, self-care strategies, such as regular exercise and installing safety railings, can reduce the risk of falling.

In addition to osteoporosis medications that can reduce the risk of a broken bone and slow bone loss, people can change their diet, take supplements, and improve their strength. Many individuals may also benefit from mental health support to cope with the challenges of living with osteoporosis.

Read on to learn more about osteoporosis self-care.

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Osteoporosis self-care can help slow the progression of osteoporosis. It can also reduce the risk of complications or falls.

This is because lifestyle factors, such as smoking or having a sedentary lifestyle, are major predictors of developing osteoporosis. Once the condition develops, these lifestyle factors can worsen bone loss.

Working with a doctor to decide on the right osteoporosis medication and routinely following up to assess its effectiveness is an important part of self-care. This article will also discuss nutrition, supplementation, exercise, and mental health strategies that can help people with osteoporosis.

A balanced diet is important for everyone, but vitamin D, calcium, and protein are particularly important for bone health. Diets low in calcium and vitamin D increase the risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, as a person ages, adequate protein intake becomes more important to preserve muscle strength and mobility.

People can consider consuming the following nutrients as part of a nutritious diet:

  • Vitamin D: Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, and eggs. Many yogurt, milk products, and some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D.
  • Calcium: Foods high in calcium include yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products.
  • Vitamin K and K2: People can eat green leafy vegetables, which are high in vitamin K, with a fat source to improve absorption. Sources of vitamin K2 include egg yolks, fermented dairy, meat, and fermented soy.
  • Protein: Individuals can add protein-rich foods, such as animal products, nuts, and seeds, into their diets. Most people need a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, those with osteoporosis may need more protein than this.

Additionally, people should avoid consuming excessive amounts of salt, as this can increase the excretion of calcium. Reducing caffeine intake and switching out additional coffee cups for caffeine-free teas is also a suitable approach.

It is also important to maintain a moderate body weight, which can lower the risk of bone fractures and bone loss.

Learn more about diet and nutrition for people with osteoporosis.

Although vitamin D and calcium are important for bone health, some people find it difficult to consume enough through diet alone. Taking calcium and vitamin D3 supplements may help slow the progression of osteoporosis. People can discuss dosage with a doctor and thoroughly research their chosen supplements.

Additionally, individuals with a vitamin D deficiency may need prescription supplements to raise vitamin D levels appropriately. A person can ask a doctor to check their vitamin D levels.

Because sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, rates of osteoporosis are higher in regions with lower sunlight. Daily time outside can help, and in areas with particularly small amounts of sunlight, seasonal affective disorder lamps may be a suitable option.

Learn more about natural ways to increase bone density.

Smoking and alcohol consumption are risk factors for developing osteoporosis and may worsen the condition.

Therefore, a person needs to quit smoking, if applicable. Reducing alcohol intake or eliminating it is also important.

Learn more about the connection between smoking and alcohol and osteoporosis.

Exercise strengthens the muscles, making it easier to move and reducing the risk of falling. It also helps strengthen bones and prevent additional bone loss. Non-impact exercises that improve balance, such as yoga and tai chi, can be especially helpful.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that individuals exercise 150 minutes per week, or an average of 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. They also suggest that two of these days include muscle-strengthening activities.

Weight-bearing exercise is also beneficial for bone health. However, people with some very advanced forms of osteoporosis may not be able to lift weights safely, so they need to consult a doctor about appropriate exercise options.

While exercise is important for maintaining bone and overall health, avoiding movements that increase the risk of falling is important. A person can try the following to reduce the risk of falls:

  • install grab bars in the shower or bath
  • install sturdy railings in stairwells
  • ensure the matting of rugs onto the floor
  • consider walk-in bathtubs and showers
  • use nonslip shower mats
  • use a cane or walker if a person feels unsteady on their feet
  • avoid using ladders or step stools
  • avoid twisting the spine, doing toe touches, or doing situps unless a doctor recommends otherwise

Learn more about exercise for people with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can cause concerns and may affect a person’s daily life. For example, some people become anxious about a possible fall or fracture.

Many of the same interventions that improve bone health, such as staying physically active, may also help protect mental health.

People who feel intense anxiety or sadness, or those who have trouble making appropriate lifestyle changes, should seek the support of a psychotherapist. Depression is not a symptom of osteoporosis, so individuals who experience depression or very intense emotions should contact a mental health professional.

For some people, an osteoporosis diagnosis requires significant health changes to maintain health and well-being. However, support from loved ones can make the transition less overwhelming.

Some strategies for getting support include:

  • asking a friend or family member to become an exercise or walking buddy
  • joining a fitness class with a loved one
  • joining an osteoporosis support group
  • considering talking with a psychotherapist if a person has difficulty making changes or the diagnosis feels especially upsetting or overwhelming

An osteoporosis diagnosis can cause concerns, especially for someone who hopes to maintain an active and independent lifestyle. However, an individual can use a number of approaches to slow the progression of osteoporosis and maintain their health.

Many lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking, if applicable, can improve overall health and reduce the risk of additional diseases. People with an osteoporosis diagnosis need to work with a doctor to discuss treatment goals and develop a personalized treatment plan.