Your Lifestyle and Osteoporosis

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: May 26, 2010

The following article is brought to you by our April sponsor, Reclast.

For the past three months, we’ve covered the importance of proper nutrition and exercise when it comes to caring for your bones. This month, we want to share a few lifestyle choices that you may not realize are negatively affecting your bones. Plus, we share a few style tips to keep you looking Strong to the Bone!

Break the Habit: Alcohol and tobacco weaken your bones

  • Smoking is toxic to your bone cells, making it harder for your body to absorb calcium. Plus, smoking lowers estrogen levels in women, and estrogen helps protect bones. Finally, smoking can make exercise harder.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: Heavy drinking prevents bone from building. It can also affect your body’s calcium supply. And make you more likely to fall, which is how many people break bones.

Protect Yourself from Falls: Importance of taking precautions

Since bone fractures are often caused by falls, it is important to take necessary precautions, including:

  • Have your vision checked
  • Make your home safer by removing items you may trip over
  • Be sure that you have enough lighting in your home
  • Wear shoes with non-slip or rubber soles
  • Install handrails where appropriate
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the side-effects of drugs you take. Some can make you feel dizzy
  • Do balance exercises such as yoga or tai chi

Fun Activities: How to incorporate exercise and not even know it

The more you exercise your bones, the stronger and denser they become. However, exercise does not have to be boring. Everyday enjoyable activities like dancing, walking, playing tennis and gardening can help strengthen your bones. If you are interested in learning more about exercises that benefit your bones, you can visit

Look Your Best: The impact of fractures on your outward appearance

As we mentioned in part 1 of our series (What is Osteoporosis?), osteoporosis can affect any bone in the body, but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine. Specifically, compression fractures of the spine can cause body changes: a loss of height, a curving of the shoulders and backs and a thickening waistline. These changes often make it difficult for those with osteoporosis to find stylish, comfortable and properly fitting clothes.

For some women with osteoporosis, shopping for clothes or getting dressed can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Jackets and blouses pull across the back and shoulders. Collars gape. Skirts do not hang properly. All are effects of the physical consequences of osteoporosis.

These fashion and design tips should give you some stylish ideas*:

  • Overall, wear clothing that is loose, straight or just slightly fitted
  • Jeweled, rounded, slight V or soft cowl necklines work best
  • Raglan, dropped or dolman sleeves
  • Find pants with elasticized waistbands
  • Dresses with empire waist, dropped waist or A-line
  • Make good use of accessories, such as long scarves or shawls to highlight the face and draw eyes up away from shoulder area
  • Add shoulder pads to compensate for sloping shoulders
  • Use backpacks to evenly distribute weight and leave hands free for balance
  • Wear flat or low-heeled comfortable slip-on shoes with rubber soles
  • Work with department store personal shoppers; they are usually free of charge
  • TIP: Using scarves is one of the easiest ways to disguise shoulder and back curvature. A colorful or patterned scarf can help you feel great and update the look of an outfit.

*Beauty in All Forms®, a fashion project founded by the National Osteoporosis Foundation in partnership with New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

Stay tuned for our next issue to learn important questions to ask your doctor about osteoporosis and available treatment options that may be right for you. In the meantime, visit to take a short osteoporosis risk assessment and to learn about local osteoporosis education events in your area.


National Osteoporosis Foundation. Beat the Break: Home Safety Checklist. 2006.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis –Fact Sheet, 2004.

National Osteoporosis Foundation. Patient Info: Fashion Tips. Available at . Accessed on September 26, 2008.