Ask the Nurse

I had a bone density recently and was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I just started alendronate. In addition to walking, rowing and using the elliptical, what else can I do to strengthen my bones?

Make sure you consume an adequate amount of dietary calcium, approximately 1200 mg per day, as well as vitamin D. You can only absorb around 500 mg of calcium at one time so you should divide your total daily calcium intake between several meals.

Foods rich in calcium include:

  • milk
  • green leafy vegetables
  • beans
  • salmon
  • tuna
  • broccoli
  • fortified cereal and juice

If you are unable to get enough calcium in your diet, make up the difference with a supplement.

Weight bearing exercises are especially important to strengthen your bones. Engage in a healthy lifestyle with regular cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercises. Perform at least 30 minutes of weight bearing exercises 3 or 4 times each week. Furthermore, maintaining your strength and your balance is important to prevent falls that ultimately may result in fracture. Other lifestyle factors to incorporate include avoiding smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine because this can lead to weakening of your bones.

Finally, make sure to take medications as prescribed by your physician and keep your scheduled follow-up visits to recheck your bones. Bone scans are often repeated after starting treatment to ensure that you are responding appropriately. If not, there are other types of medications for osteoporosis that can be used.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women’s Health nurse

January 7, 2015 at 3:00pm