Be Smart About Bone Density

Several years ago, award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow admitted to having a disease called osteopenia, which means she’s lost some of her bone density. We were interested to hear her admit recently on late-night TV that she’s broken her toes 8 or 10 times – and she broke her foot a few weeks ago. (She also came on Jimmy Kimmel Live wearing what looked like 4-inch heels, not anything we’d recommend for someone who recently suffered a foot fracture. But we digress.)

Osteopenia may lead to osteoporosis

So is osteopenia to blame for all of Gwyneth’s foot woes? Only her doctor knows for sure. What we at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland know for sure is that having osteopenia means that you’re at higher risk for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, sometimes called brittle bone disease, means that you have lost so much bone density that your bones are porous – they have tiny spaces in them. They’re thin and can break very easily. Osteopenia is not as severe as osteoporosis, but it’s a sign that your bones are starting to weaken and that you may develop osteoporosis.

Who gets osteopenia and osteoporosis?

People who are at risk for thinning bone density include

  • those who aren’t getting enough Vitamin D, either through diet or sunlight.
  • people who don’t eat enough calcium-rich foods.
  • those who didn’t build up their bone density while they were young. We begin to lose bone density after age 30, so it’s important to keep bones strong from an early age.
  • postmenopausal women.
  • anyone who has broken a bone after the age of 50.
  • those with a history of osteoporosis in their family.

Best ways to steer clear of thinning bones

  • Eat a diet rich in calcium.
  • Ask your doctor about Vitamin D supplements. Most people can’t get enough through food.
  • Get some exposure to the sun – their rays help your body produce Vitamin D.
  • Add strength-training to your exercise regime.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about when to get a bone density test, which is used to diagnose osteopenia and osteoporosis.

For answers to questions about how bone density, osteopenia, and osteoporosis can affect your feet, give expert podiatrists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey a call at our state-of-the-art office in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041. You can also click here to make an appointment online.