Back to Top Skip to main content

Sticks and stones can break bones – and so can osteoporosis

Master Sgt. Kimberly Kaminski, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, flips a 445-pound tire during a workout at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Resistance training is just one of many steps to take to fight osteoporosis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ross A. Whitley) Air Force Master Sgt. Kimberly Kaminski, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, flips a 445-pound tire during a workout at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. Resistance training is just one of many steps to take to fight osteoporosis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ross A. Whitley)

Recommended Content:

Nutrition | Physical Activity | Women's Health

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Bones are living, growing tissues that begin to feel the wear and tear of aging years before symptoms show. Osteoporosis, a severe form of bone density loss, affects roughly 10 million people in the United States. But once the disease becomes evident, usually as a broken bone, it’s too late to reverse the damage.

“Osteoporosis is a silent disease that doesn’t give patients any symptoms until something happens,” said Army Maj. Kate Kinnaird, an endocrinologist at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Northern Virginia. The National Institute on Aging defines osteoporosis as a disease that weakens bones to the point where they break easily, most often affecting the hip, backbone, and wrist.

As people grow, the body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new bone tissue until it reaches peak bone mass sometime between the mid-20s and early 30s, said Kinnaird. Bone continues to break down as a person ages, but the replacement process slows.

Bone density loss is a natural part of aging that impacts both men and women, but women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, said Kinnaird. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis are women.

Hormones also play a role in building and strengthening bones, placing post-menopausal women at risk for osteoporosis due to the loss of estrogen. Bone loss occurs the fastest in the first few years after menopause, with one in four women age 65 and older being affected in the U.S, NIA said.

In addition to gender and age, other risk factors for osteoporosis include low body weight, a small frame, family history of the disease, and lack of physical activity, Kinnaird said. Smoking, daily alcohol intake, eating disorders, certain medications, and certain diseases, such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes, can also increase risk.

“There are certain patients that we know based on their medical history, or the medications they’re on, that would be at higher risk of early bone loss, so we’ll screen them sooner than we would the general population,” said Kinnaird.

The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommends women aged 65 and older, as well as women younger than 65 who are at greater risk, get screened for osteoporosis. For post-menopausal women, bone density is tested through an exam that compares a patient’s bone density to the density found in an average healthy adult of the same gender. The test result, known as a T-score, indicates how strong bones are, whether osteoporosis or low bone mass exist, and if the individual is at risk for having a fracture, said Kinnaird. For women who haven’t gone through menopause but have at least two risk factors, bone density is compared to patients in their own age group, she said.

Air Force Maj. Christopher Wild, a staff orthopedic surgeon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, said being able to identify and treat people who have signs of bone loss can help prevent fractures. Once a person is diagnosed with osteoporosis, treatments focus on preventing further bone loss. Such treatments, which usually focus on proper nutrition and exercise, are based on the cause of the disease. The choice of medication is dependent on the severity of the bone loss and the patient’s risk for fracture, he added. Medications can include bisphosphonates, estrogen therapy, hormone therapy, parathyroid hormone, or calcitonin,

“The best treatment for osteoporosis is prevention,” said Wild. He recommends eating healthy, staying active, and having vitamin D and calcium daily to help maintain strong bones.

“Young people in their late teens and 20s can still influence their peak bone density, so it's important to make sure to be active and eat healthy while young and growing,” he said. A diet with nutrient-rich foods, such as dairy, fish, fruits, and vegetables can improve a person’s overall health and the health of the bones. The recommended daily intake for an adult is 1,200-1,500 milligrams of calcium and 800-1,000 IUs of vitamin D per day, he said, while children ages 9-18 should get 1,300 milligrams of calcium.

While low-impact workouts, such as swimming, can be good exercise, Kinnaird recommends using weight-bearing exercises, strength training, or resistance training for bone health. Exercises like walking and running can add enough stress to bones to maintain their strength, she said.

“Osteoporosis may be more common among older women, but it’s important to take care of ourselves as early on as possible, “said Kinnaird. “The choices we make every day about food and exercise can make a significant difference later on in life. It’s not too late to start.”

You also may be interested in...

Army researchers develop tasty, healthy performance bar

Article
9/4/2018
Two U.S. Army soldiers eat a version of the Performance Readiness Bar. USARIEM researchers will monitor them to test whether the bar affects bone density. (U.S. Army photo by Mr. David Kamm)

Researchers aren’t working to provide recruits and soldiers with something that only tastes good; it has to make sense for their nutrition

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Nutrition

Going the distance runs in the family

Article
6/14/2018
Elisa Zwanenburg (left) and Al Richmond (right) engage in their favorite father-daughter activity, marathon running. (Courtesy photo by James Frank)

For this father/daughter team, running, and the Marine Corps principles that carry them, are in their blood

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Physical Activity | Men's Health

New simulator preps WBAMC staff for OB emergencies

Article
5/1/2018
Regina Vadney, nurse midwife, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, evaluates a medical manikin using WBAMC's new simulation system which provides cutting-edge training to medical staff during a simulated postpartum hemorrhage scenario. The new simulation system aims to increase communication, and improve interdisciplinary and clinical performance of staff when treating obstetric emergencies. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez)

The state-of-the-art simulator provides medical staff up to various cutting-edge training scenarios

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Women's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Getting tested for STIs is an 'important part of sexual health'

Article
4/26/2018
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Robert Hall studies a blood sample with a microscope at Naval Branch Health Clinic Kings Bay’s laboratory. Blood tests and pap smears are commonly used ways to diagnose sexually transmitted infections. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States. Taking preventive steps, like getting tested and practicing safe sex, can help reduce risk of infection or spreading the infection to others.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Men's Health | Women's Health

Fort Belvoir corpsman comes through for moms

Article
4/20/2018
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Talena Epling proudly serves in her role as a Fort Belvoir Community Hospital board-certified lactation consultant, a rarity among enlisted service members. (Department of Defense photos by Reese Brown)

Striving to empower, lactation consultants critical for mothers, babies

Recommended Content:

Women's Health

Deep vein thrombosis: What you need to know

Article
4/9/2018
Jamia Bailey (center) with her parents, James and Pia, after she underwent a procedure in December at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, to help prevent deep vein thrombosis from recurring. DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep inside the body. (Courtesy photo)

Everyone’s potentially at risk, vascular surgeon says

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Preventive Health | Heart Health | Physical Activity

Small changes, big results: Healthy lifestyle choices can make a difference for heart health

Article
4/6/2018
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, director of the Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy at Boston University, provides insight on the importance of heart health. From 2010 to 2016, Woodson served as the assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. He is also a brigadier general in the United States Army Reserve. (Photo courtesy of Boston University)

Risk for heart disease, the number one killer of Americans every year, can be decreased through healthy lifestyle and nutrition choices

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Nutrition | Physical Activity

Breakfast (and lunch, and dinner) of champions: What this Olympian eats

Article
3/30/2018
Army Sgt. Matt Mortensen, a two-time Olympian, has been competing in doubles luge since 2011 as a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program. (U.S. Army photo)

March may be “cheat month,” but slider sticks close to regular diet

Recommended Content:

Nutrition

Eat an apple a day, but don't keep the dentist away

Article
3/27/2018
A child eats an apple during a Trunk-or-Treat event, which featured a healthy snack station as an alternative to candy, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

Good oral health takes more than brushing teeth and flossing – it also requires proper nutrition

Recommended Content:

Deployment Health | Health Readiness | Nutrition | Preventive Health

Fuel your body during National Nutrition Month

Article
3/16/2018
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese and obesity-related conditions are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Eating healthy can prevent the onset of chronic diseases, reduce inflammation and improve physical recovery time from wounds. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

More than one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese and obesity-related conditions are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths

Recommended Content:

Operation Live Well | Nutrition

Traumatic Brain Injury and the Art of Paddling

Article
3/7/2018
Collins enjoys stand-up paddle boarding for how it helps him with TBI. His service dog, Charlie, likes it too. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Army Special Operations veteran Josh Collins)

A U.S. Army veteran’s recipe for embracing life after several TBIs

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Hearing Loss | Men's Health | Physical Activity | Physical Disability | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Traumatic Brain Injury | Vision Loss

Cold weather injuries during deployments, July 2012 – June 2017

Infographic
1/18/2018
During the 5-year surveillance period, 105 cold weather injuries were diagnosed and treated in service members deployed outside the U.S. of these, 39 (37%) were immersion injuries; 33 (31%) were frostbite; 16 (15%) were hypothermia; and 17 (16%) were “unspecified” cold weather injuries. Pie chart for cold weather injuries during deployments displays depicting the information above. Number of cold weather injuries bar chart: Of all 105 cold weather injuries during the surveillance period, 68% occurred during the first two cold seasons. Bar chart shows the number of cold weather injuries by year: •	2012-2013 cold season had 35 cold weather injuries •	2013-2014 cold season had 100 cold weather injuries •	2014 -2015 cold season had 13 cold weather injuries •	2015-2016 cold season had 11 cold weather injuries •	2016 – 2017 had 10 cold weather injuries Access the full report in the October 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 10). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR  #ColdReadiness

This infographic documents cold weather injuries during deployments for the July 2012 – June 2017 cold seasons.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Health Readiness

Complications and Care Related to Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery among Active Component Service Women U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016

Infographic
1/5/2018
Maternal complications and delivery outcomes are important components of the overall health and well-being of reproductive-age service women. This analysis provides an update on pregnancy complications and characterizes the counts, rates, and trends of several specific pregnancy complications. FINDINGS •	55,601 U.S. service women whose pregnancies resulted in 63,879 live births had 657,060 medical encounters •	For all age groups, percentages of live births affected by preterm labor decreased, but during 2012 – 2016, the percentages of pregnant service members diagnosed with obesity increased. •	The percentage of pregnant service members affected by gestational diabetes was more than twice as high for obese women, compared with non-obese women (12.4% vs. 5.5%). Bar graph shows the number of medical encounters with a primary (first-listed) diagnosis of any pregnancy-related complication or indication for care decreased each year between 2012 and 2016. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR  Background image: New born being provided medical attention by nurse. Secondary image: babies of diverse background on a blanket.

This analysis provides an update on pregnancy complications and characterizes the counts, rates, and trends of several specific pregnancy complications.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Women's Health

Gestational diabetes among pregnant service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces 2012 – 2016

Infographic
1/5/2018
Gestational diabetes is an abnormal increase in blood sugar levels that can adversely affect the health of both a pregnant woman and her baby. During 2012 – 2016, 4,017 (6.3%) of active component female service members who had live births were affected by gestational diabetes. Women aged 25-34 and 35-49 years had consistently higher annual prevalences of gestational diabetes than younger females. The percentage of pregnant service members affected by gestational diabetes was more than twice as high for obese women as for non-obese women (12.4% vs. 5.5%). The percentage of live births affected by gestational diabetes increased with increasing age and was highest among Asians/Pacific Islanders. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR

This infographic documents the incidence and prevalence of gestational diabetes pregnant service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health

Contraception among active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 – 2016

Infographic
1/5/2018
Because the majority of women serving in the Armed Forces are of childbearing age, and women’s military career opportunities have expanded into combat roles, contraceptive health care is an increasingly important public health issue. The lack of available, population-based descriptive information on contraceptive use among U.S. service women has generated questions and concerns about ready access to these medical products. This infographic summarizes the annual prevalence of permanent sterilization, as well as use of long – and short-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs and SARCs, respectively), contraceptive counseling services, and use of emergency contraception from 2012 through 2016, among active component service women. FINDINGS •	2012 through 2016, Sterilization decreased from 4.2% to 3.6% LARC use increased from 17.2% to 21.7%; SARC use decreased from 38.5% to 30.4%. •	Emergency contraception use increased from 0.4% to 1.9%. •	Among deployed women, the average annual prevalence of permanent sterilization was 4.2%. •	For deployed women, LARC use was 17.9% SARC use was 28.0%. •	Emergency contraception use among deployed women was 0.4%. •	262,907 (76.2%) women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) used either a LARC or a SARC at some time during the surveillance period. •	The vast majority of service women have utilized at least one form of contraception, and women are selecting LARCs in greater numbers with each passing year. The bar graph displays information on the annual prevalence of contraceptive utilization, by type, service women of child-bearing potential, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012– 2016. Graphic displayed: contraception option. Access the full report in the November 2017 MSMR (Vol. 24, No. 11). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR

This infographic summarizes the annual prevalence of permanent sterilization, as well as use of long – and short-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs and SARCs, respectively), contraceptive counseling services, and use of emergency contraception from 2012 through 2016, among active component service women.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Women's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing | Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.