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While your genes play a significant role in determining the size and strength of your bones at their maximum, there's still room for improvement. You can push yourself to reach your full bone mass potential through proper diet and exercise. So don't let your genetics limit you — with a little effort and dedication, your bones can be stronger than ever before. 

At Palmetto Endocrinology we help folks sidestep osteoporosis — a disease you get when your bones lose mass and density — by monitoring their bone health and recommending lifestyle changes and medications that can improve bone density.  

Here’s what you need to know about osteoporosis and what you can do to ramp up your bone strength. 


Osteoporosis 101 

Osteoporosis occurs when your body doesn’t make enough new bone tissue, or you lose it faster than you can generate it. The disease weakens your bones and makes them brittle, so even minor trauma and forces can easily break them.  

The word osteoporosis means “porous bone,” and if you could view bones affected by the disease through a microscope, you’d see a network of holes resembling a honeycomb. While even healthy bones are porous, bones with osteoporosis have large holes and less connective tissue. 

According to the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects half of women and one-quarter of men aged 50 and older — 54 million Americans in total. Unfortunately, most people don’t know they have a bone density problem until they experience a fracture, notice a spinal curve, or realize they’re shrinking.  

Many factors put you at risk for this bone-robbing disease, but some of the most common are: 


We can help catch early signs of bone mineral density loss, a condition called osteopenia, which is a milder form and often a precursor to osteoporosis. 


Boosting bone mass after age 30 

Although your natural bone mass tops out by age 30, it’s never too late to fight loss. Here are four ways to keep your bones going strong.


1. Calcium and vitamin D

Feed your bones plenty of calcium and vitamin D to nourish them and maintain strength. On average, women need about 1,000 milligrams (about the weight of a small paper clip) daily until they’re 50, and men need the same until they’re 70. After that, both should increase their intake to 1,200 milligrams (about half the weight of a penny) daily.  

Calcium needs vitamin D for your body to absorb it, so if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, the calcium gets flushed out. Shoot for 600-800 IUs per day.


2. Exercise

We can’t say enough about exercise. Sitting around all day ruins your health in every way, and that includes your bone health. The best exercises for optimal bone health are those that bear weight, like weightlifting and even walking, and those that require resistance, like isometrics and pull-ups.


3. Cut out bad habits

Because smoking and alcohol decrease bone mass, kicking those habits can stop the decline and enable you to maintain the bone you’ve built over the years. 


4. Eat protein

Your bones comprise about 50% protein, so you need to eat enough to maintain that level. But you must strike a good balance because too little or too much protein can negatively affect your bones.  

While studies show that low protein decreases your ability to absorb calcium, experts also warn that too much protein can rob calcium from your bones. Most experts agree that up to 100 grams of protein daily from a balanced diet is the sweet spot.  


How we can help 

Don’t wait for a broken bone to learn that you have a bone density problem. Consult our experts at Palmetto Endocrinology to find out if your bones are strong and healthy or need a boost.  

If osteopenia or osteoporosis has already set in, we can help with that, too. We work with you to help you prevent fractures and slow or stop your bone loss through nutritional supplements, personalized lifestyle changes, and medications. 

Call or click to schedule an appointment with us today. 


Joseph W. Mathews, MD, FACP, FACE, ECNU, CCD Joseph Mathews, MD, FACP, FACE, ECNU, CCD Joseph W. Mathews M.D., a board certified Endocrinologist and Medical Director of Palmetto Endocrinology, was born and raised in South Carolina. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the College of Charleston, Cum Laude. He then achieved his M.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina where he also completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. Dr. Mathews is also a Fellow of both the American College of Endocrinology and the American College of Physicians, holds an Endocrine Certification in Neck Ultrasound (ECNU) and is a Certified Clinical Densitometrist (CCD). He has extensive experience performing ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsies. His practice includes a range of specializations including prescribing and fitting patients with insulin pumps. Dr. Mathews' practice has drawn patients from out of state to benefit from his expertise in thyroid disorders, diabetes, cortisol problems and their Endocrine disorders.

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