Aging doesn’t have to be something that brings us sadness. We can live healthy and vital into our later years as long as we are aware of the changing needs of our bodies. That being said I want to share something with you that is important to all of us women who are committed to staying young, active and independent.
I had the pleasure of being invited to and attending an Amgen Sponsored Health Summit that was dedicated to learning more about Osteoporosis- #Aging Differently Osteoporosis. As a women who is entering her 50th year on this planet I am beginning to pay close attention to healthy aging and staying strong in my body.
The goal of attending the summit was to learn more about who is affected by this disease, how we can educate ourselves and what can we do about it. I was selected to attend along with twelve other women who are influencers online and social media. These women all over the age of 50 were definitely committed to aging differently, gracefully and keeping their bodies strong and healthy.
What is Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis which literally means porous bone, is a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced.
As bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture is greatly increased. The loss of bone occurs silently and progressively. Often there are no symptoms until the first fracture occurs, Osteoporosis causes bones to sometimes become so brittle that a fall from standing height or mild stresses like bending over to pick something up can result in a break or fracture.
When I arrived at the hotel I was impressed with the beautiful gardens and courtyards. My room was lovely and had a wonderful view of the Tuscan garden.
That evening I got to meet the other women who were also invited. Each one was incredibly intelligent and I thought very beautiful too. Their personal stories inspired me. We enjoyed a delicious meal in an exquisite wine cave as we introduced ourselves and shared a few laughs.
The following day began quite early with Yoga under the trees. All of us ladies engaged in specific Yoga postures that were weight bearing to stimulate muscle and bone. Bones are living tissue. Weight–bearing physical activity causes new bone tissue to form, and this makes bones stronger. This kind of physical activity also makes muscles stronger. Bones and muscles both become stronger when muscles push and tug against bones during physical activity. Engaging in weight bearing exercises will stimulate your bones and help you keep the muscle you have later in life. We lose about 2% of our muscle mass every year after the age of 40 unless we are doing something to maintain and keep that muscle mass.
Of course anything fitness and health related is always very interesting to me, but this topic of osteoporosis really hit home because of the statistics and the personal stories I heard during the summit.
Sadly 1 in 2 women will be affected by Osteoporosis and an estimated 10 million Americans already are living with this disease. Having Osteoporosis puts you at risk of not only breaking a bone but suffering from a second fracture is five times more likely to happen within a year. Yikes! A broken bone can be life changing especially if it hinders your ability to drive or even walk making an independent lifestyle difficult.
Understanding the risk factors is a helpful toll in the likelihood of developing this disease.
- Women over 50 and advanced age
- Low body mass index (BMI)
- Previous fracture as an adult
- Cigarette smoking
- Alcohol consumption (more than 3 drinks per day)
- Low calcium intake
- Low Vitamin D level
Wearing a very official looking blue lab coat we got to tour the Amgen facility and learn more about what they do there. The whole place was quite impressive as were the Doctors and other staff we met who were facilitating the summit. As the day went on we learned more about Osteoporosis and each other. I wasn’t the only one who was shocked to learn that bone breaks due to osteoporosis send more women to the hospital than heart attacks, strokes or breast cancer. Osteoporosis is a chronic condition, and while there is no cure, there are steps patients can take to manage this disease.
My favorite part of the day was the cooking class. We talked about the importance of nutrition as we made Salmon Cakes, a very delicious way to get some vital nutrients like vitamin D and calcium that are essential for bone health. They we topped with a cucumber cooler dip made with yogurt. This topping alone contains 460 mg of calcium or 46% of the daily recommend value. About 99% of the calcium in our body is in our bones and teeth. Many Americans fall short of getting the adequate amount of calcium they need everyday and that can contribute to bone loss, low bone density and even broken bones. A healthy balanced diet including calcium and vitamin D rich foods can truly help your bones but for some women with osteoporosis calcium and vitamin D alone may not be enough. The World Health Organization has declared osteoporosis a public health crisis and overall, 80% of osteoporotic fractures in the U.S. occur in women. All women over the age of 50 should talk to their doctors about a DXA bone scan and a healthy bone plan to follow.