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Bare Bones

Bone health likely isn’t at the top of most people’s health concerns. However, Dr. Loring Barwick Jr., a physician at Tulsa’s Riverside Primary Care, says bone health is developed early in life.

“Bone health is developed by proper nutrition and exercise,” says Barwick. “If done in early life, our bones have a better chance of serving us well into old age.”

It’s not news to most that a proper diet rich in calcium and vitamin D does much for bone health.

“Calcium comes primarily from dairy products,” says Barwick. “The body makes its own vitamin D when exposed to the sun. The body is set up to preserve its bones naturally. However, there are some people who are predisposed to weak bones or osteoporosis.”

Those with a maternal history of osteoporosis, low body weight, tobacco use and use of certain medications and those at an advanced age are at risk for osteoporosis, says Barwick. Females are also at a higher risk than males, and Barwick adds that menopause can contribute to calcium loss due to lack of estrogen.

“There are usually no symptoms of bone loss,” he says. “Anyone over 65 should have a bone mineral density test.”
There are prescription medications that can reverse bone loss safely, especially when paired with proper vitamin D levels, calcium intake and exercise, adds Barwick.