Your tips for healthy living with osteoporosis: What helps?

Welcome to the Osteoporosis & Bone Health group, a space for support, practical information, and answers to your questions from members like you about bone loss and healthy living.

Pull up a chair and let’s chat. Why not start by introducing yourself? What healthy living tip has helped you live well with osteoporosis?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Osteoporosis & Bone Health group.

Thanks for starting an Osteoporosis group @colleenyoung. Let me start by saying if I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken much better care of myself. I have degenerative arthritis and osteopenia neither of which has caused me much worry or concern until the past 2 or 3 years. The small aches and pains have become more prevalent and the fear of falling and breaking some bones is with me every step of the way.

My biggest challenge and tip if you are carrying a lot of weight is to make some permanent lifestyle changes to get your weight down. Eating healthier and exercising more is something we should all be doing but it's really important for those of us with osteoporosis or osteopenia. What has helped me with the weight loss and eating healthier is intermittent fasting and eating less carbs. We have a great discussion going if you need help:
— Low-carb healthy fat living. Intermittent fasting. What’s your why?:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/low-carb-healthy-fat-living-intermittent-fasting-whats-your-why/
How about you Teri @tsc, do you have some health tips to share for healthy living with osteoporosis?

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This is Jennifer. I think the key to staying healthy is to stay active and get some exercise any way that you can. A walk around the block does wonders for wellbeing. Weight bearing exercise helps maintain muscle strength and doctors have recommended it to maintain bone health as well.

One of the best things I do that helps me physically is to care for and ride my horse. I like to ride him on trails which is great exercise for my back and core strength, and I have to groom him, and lift the saddle that is about 28 pounds up to chest height. Work chores also involve picking up hay bales, and sacks of horse feed, and some duties involving clean up and moving some piles of stuff on the ground. It's hard work in the summer heat, so I always take a break in the shade and drink water. It is so good for me and makes me happy to see my horse. They are a lot of work, and it's great physical therapy that keeps me strong. My legs get so strong from riding that I have noticed it is much less effort to get up off the couch. Give yourself a good reason to get outside and do something you enjoy!

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@tsc @arlene7 @artscaping @imallears @sarahw02 @bridget77 @jerseygal1 @justdiagnosed @kolika @patmills @windyshores @haroula @contentandwell @lee59 @callalloo @toni7 @csday @kilh @nancyoinnc @colleen67 @tmtm4 @kittiecat @sueinmn @jsmigielski @neo232qeen @necole @arnhilda @mj20 @bee1950 @lkel @sudsie58 @aspine @ga29 @notmoff @amli65 @bunky44. I know there are many members I have mentioned. Tag a member you think would want to join this group.

Check it out. We just opened a new group dedicated to:
– Osteoporosis & Bone Health https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/osteoporosis/

Follow the group to get notifications of new activity. And join this discussion.
Why not start by introducing yourself? What healthy living tip has helped you live well with osteoporosis?

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I'm a very slender 79 yr old caucasian lady who hoped that remaining active (hiking, cycling, walking), eating a lot of dairy, and avoiding smoking & drinking would reduce my chances that osteopenia would progress to osteoporosis. But here I am with a 10 year history of spinal compression fractures now resulting in kyphosis, scoliosis, significant back pain and a loss of about 5" inches in height.

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@notmoff

I'm a very slender 79 yr old caucasian lady who hoped that remaining active (hiking, cycling, walking), eating a lot of dairy, and avoiding smoking & drinking would reduce my chances that osteopenia would progress to osteoporosis. But here I am with a 10 year history of spinal compression fractures now resulting in kyphosis, scoliosis, significant back pain and a loss of about 5" inches in height.

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How did this happen to you? What caused the compression fractures.

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Hi, fellow osteoporosis/osteopenia friends.
I have somewhat advanced osteoporosis and am dealing with it as well as I can with medication and making sure that I get enough protein and calcium daily. Many people don't realize that protein is as important as calcium – bones are half protein.

When I had my first DXA (that is now the approved abbreviation, not DEXA) in my late 50s my bones were amazingly strong. My endocrinologist believes that being on prednisone for a number of years following a liver transplant caused osteoporosis. Exercise is imperative and using weights, whatever weight works for you, is encouraged for upper body. I must admit, I have not been exercising nearly as much as I should be recently and I hope to turn over a new leaf starting tomorrow and get back to exercising. Part of that was because during the pandemic I couldn't go to my health club, and being on immunosuppressants, my transplant team delayed my return to the health club. I did do a lot of YouTube videos but frankly I got sort of burned out on them. I was walking frequently but the trail I was walking has temporarily closed due to road work so I had to find a different place, further away. My street is hilly and I have trouble with hills. Those are all of my excuses.

I am part of the group OsteoBoston that has zoom meetings monthly with different speakers. Most of the month there is no activity, just the monthly zooms, but if anyone is interested in that I will provide the email address of the woman who runs it. It's a good group and if you can't make the zoom meetings they are out there on YouTube to view afterward.
JK

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Good evening to all of you who have encountered osteoporosis or have just been introduced to osteopenia. My name is Chris and I was clueless about this bone condition until my PCP introduced me to it at the age of 77. That is when I realized that my mother suffered silently from osteoporosis or at least she never told me that she was doing anything to maintain good bone health. I went to visit her in her senior apt when she was 83 or 84. As she opened the door for me, she fell and broke her hip. Surgery was required and I was shocked to find that she would never walk again. Her life of creative talent just slipped away at that moment along with her friendly personality.

She never walked in the rose garden again. I took her there in a wheelchair and she barely looked at the blooming flowers. She virtually shrank and became very fragile. How I wish she had shared her osteoporosis diagnosis with me before she passed.

I have always been athletic, playing tennis and golf and hiking in the Sierras. Later in life, I joined a trekking group of 6 women who chose to walk up to fifteen miles a day in beautiful corners of the world like the Ring of Kerry in Ireland and the isolated islands of Canada. I also lived for 23 years in a mountain village at 6000 ft……a perfect place to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system by walking every day in all kinds of weather. No one ever mentioned bone health.

My first attempts reduced my DXA to osteopenia or as close as I could get. Allergic reactions to medication became a problem until I was accepted as an endocrinology patient at Mayo Clinic. I think I am headed down a productive path now thanks to the many folks who have painstakingly told their stories on Connect. There is a lot of fear and concern by members about how their bodies will tolerate and even benefit from new medications.

I hope this special group of Connect members will be helpful to all. We must be patient and make the best decisions we can after perusing others' experiences right here.

Good luck and good bone health to all.
Chris

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I was diagnosed with osteopenia when I was in my mid-40's. That was a big shock as I'd been active with hiking, skiing, and especially with strength training for at least 10 years. My mother had osteoporosis so I was at risk. My mother fell and broke her hip at age 68 and never fully recovered after that. I've been very frightened of this happening to me so I've been tracking the bone loss with periodic bone density scans. Fast forward to my early 60's and my bone density scan showed that I was in the osteoporosis range. I resisted taking any of the medications for a few years. I'd been taking calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D along with some other supplements. My Vitamin D blood level was tested and it was 17 nanograms/milliliter which is low. So my primary care doctor put me on a larger dose of Vitamin D and got it up to 50 nanograms/milliliter. That helped a little but it wasn't enough even though I changed my strength training to target hips and lower back. By age 64, I relented and started Fosamax. I tolerated it well for 5 years and went off Fosamax in late 2021. I had a bone density scan in December, 2021 and I'm back in the osteopenia range so that's a huge improvement. I work with a personal trainer and while that's a huge chunk of my budget it's worth it. I've made huge gains in strength in hips and back and last month I even hauled a wagon of logs for firewood up a hill!

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I count myself extremely lucky at 71, my most recent DXA showed good bone strength.
So why am I posting here?

Because at least 3 generations of my Mom's family live or lived with moderate to severe osteoporosis, and it could certainly happen to me. So for the past 4 years, I have closely followed the discussions about bone health on Connect, and learned I might not be doing enough to stay healthy.

Now, I am working with my PCP to make sure I am getting effective calcium. I am eating more protein, walking more and trying to figure out what weight/resistance training might work for me. In order to protect my arthritic hands, wrists and elbows, lifting free weights, or even using most machines is not possible.
Suggestions, anyone?
Sue

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@contentandwell

Hi, fellow osteoporosis/osteopenia friends.
I have somewhat advanced osteoporosis and am dealing with it as well as I can with medication and making sure that I get enough protein and calcium daily. Many people don't realize that protein is as important as calcium – bones are half protein.

When I had my first DXA (that is now the approved abbreviation, not DEXA) in my late 50s my bones were amazingly strong. My endocrinologist believes that being on prednisone for a number of years following a liver transplant caused osteoporosis. Exercise is imperative and using weights, whatever weight works for you, is encouraged for upper body. I must admit, I have not been exercising nearly as much as I should be recently and I hope to turn over a new leaf starting tomorrow and get back to exercising. Part of that was because during the pandemic I couldn't go to my health club, and being on immunosuppressants, my transplant team delayed my return to the health club. I did do a lot of YouTube videos but frankly I got sort of burned out on them. I was walking frequently but the trail I was walking has temporarily closed due to road work so I had to find a different place, further away. My street is hilly and I have trouble with hills. Those are all of my excuses.

I am part of the group OsteoBoston that has zoom meetings monthly with different speakers. Most of the month there is no activity, just the monthly zooms, but if anyone is interested in that I will provide the email address of the woman who runs it. It's a good group and if you can't make the zoom meetings they are out there on YouTube to view afterward.
JK

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Yes, I am interested in the monthly OsteoBoston group you mentioned. How would I find it on YouTube.

My new largely homebound condition might change with information from both the new Mayo Connect group and your group.
I think my neglecting protein intake and weight lifting were largely responsible for my osteoporosis. Thanks for the reminders.

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@notmoff

Yes, I am interested in the monthly OsteoBoston group you mentioned. How would I find it on YouTube.

My new largely homebound condition might change with information from both the new Mayo Connect group and your group.
I think my neglecting protein intake and weight lifting were largely responsible for my osteoporosis. Thanks for the reminders.

Jump to this post

Hi, @notmoff
If you want to view the videos on YouTube just go to YouTube and search for Osteo Boston, and if you subscribe you will be notified when new videos are out.

If you want to be able to watch the live presentations and ask questions you will need to be a member of the group. If you are interested in that I will private message the email address to you of the woman who oversees the group. It's basically her private email address so I don't think it's wise to put it on a public forum. I will email her about the email address, she may want to get one that would just be for Osteo Boston.

I do have to say here, there are occasionally presenters who are recommended but who I think are not that good which I think sometimes is the general consensus of the members. Most of the presenters are very good and informative though and welcome questions.
JK

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@johnbishop

Thanks for starting an Osteoporosis group @colleenyoung. Let me start by saying if I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken much better care of myself. I have degenerative arthritis and osteopenia neither of which has caused me much worry or concern until the past 2 or 3 years. The small aches and pains have become more prevalent and the fear of falling and breaking some bones is with me every step of the way.

My biggest challenge and tip if you are carrying a lot of weight is to make some permanent lifestyle changes to get your weight down. Eating healthier and exercising more is something we should all be doing but it's really important for those of us with osteoporosis or osteopenia. What has helped me with the weight loss and eating healthier is intermittent fasting and eating less carbs. We have a great discussion going if you need help:
— Low-carb healthy fat living. Intermittent fasting. What’s your why?:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/low-carb-healthy-fat-living-intermittent-fasting-whats-your-why/
How about you Teri @tsc, do you have some health tips to share for healthy living with osteoporosis?

Jump to this post

Hi @johnbishop, I think that @jenniferhunter is right, it's important to stay active. There is much more information now about safe and appropriate exercise for osteoporosis now, compared to when my mother suffered with it in the early 90s. Dr. Loren Fisman's Twelve Poses for Osteoporosis, Bob and Brad's Exercises, Margaret Martin, Carol Michaels and Sara Meeks' work on exercise for osteoporosis is just a click away on Google.
I thought I was doing everything right with healthy eating and exercise so I was surprised when my Dexa Scan showed osteoporosis. I'm sure the year of weight loss and inactivity due to Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis didn't help my bones.
Also, it's important not to lose hope and take pleasure in the special moments life sends our way.

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