Women with MS are at increased risk of also developing osteoporosis. A critical preventive strategy for osteoporosis is exercise, especially weight-bearing and resistance exercise. Not so easy for many MSers.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. As an MSer, be aware that you are at risk. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends five steps to bone health:
1. Take daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D.These steps are also beneficial when caring for MS, too. Vitamin D is making the news more and more as having positive effects on MS. Exercise may be restricted by ability, but movement begets more movement. Smoking and drinking should always be done in moderation.
2. Engage in regular weight-bearing exercise.
3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol.
4. Talk to your doctor about bone health.
5. Have a bone density case and take medication when appropriate.
Osteoporosis is generally considered a woman's disease. Eighty percent of the 10 million people affected are women, but men have it, too. MS is increasingly affecting more women then men. When I was diagnosed in 1989, two out of three MSers were women. Now that ratio is four out of five. Women, and men, too, should be aware that MS and osteoporosis often attack together.