• Pat Birnie

What kills more women than cancer but is easy to prevent?


Courtesy of Unsplash, Austin Schmid

Warning minor RANT ahead….It's because I care - I really do!


I love days like today – I woke up rested, started my day with visualization & reading (and coffee of course!). I checked a few items off my task list, went for a run & did some weights. After a quick shower I was back to work. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when my day flows like this. I had a LOT to do – but I made time for weights and a run because it revitalizes me and taking care of my health is a high priority!


One of the priceless benefits of an active life is that I have AWESOME bone health.

Fact: Osteoporosis is an underlying cause of thousands of deaths annually of people 45 (yes 45!) years and older – Osteo doesn’t kill you directly, but complications from fractures may.


I am embarrassed to say that I fall more than any grown up should, especially a ‘supposedly mature’ 63 year old. I’m proud to say that I’ve never broken a bone; the worst damage is usually to my pride.


But enough about me – how about you? Have you had your bone density checked lately? Did you get any warnings about early signs of bone loss such as osteopenia? And the most important question – did you take it seriously? I owned and operated a women’s gym several years ago and one of the most frustrating scenarios I faced was clients that had been diagnosed with varying degrees of bone loss but refused to be consistent in their exercise program or in taking high quality calcium/magnesium supplements. They just didn’t realize how serious this could be!


Why does this send me around the bend???!!! Here are a few not so fun facts:

√ 1 in 3 Canadian women (and 1 in 5 men) over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures.

√ A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebrae can double the risk of vertebral fractures, and similarly, a 10% loss of bone mass in the hip can result in a 2.5 times greater risk of hip fracture.

√ Lactose intolerance has been shown to be associated with low bone mass and increased risk of fracture due to low milk (calcium) intake (vegans take note!)

In Canada almost 30,000 hip fractures occur each year. By the year 2030, the number of hip fractures is expected to quadruple.

√ Sedentary lifestyle, inadequate diet, genetics and smoking are contributing factors. How many of those can you control - yup, all but 1!


So folks, this is serious – and most importantly, it is preventable and often reversible (to a certain degree).


What can you do to prevent bone loss? Weight bearing exercise is critical – dancing, hiking, walking are activities anyone can do -- and here’s a fun fact: Jumping 20 times a day is more effective than jogging! Who can't find time for that? Strength training a few times a week is important, and has so many other benefits. (sexy arms ;) If you don’t have weights, get some resistance bands. If you hate exercise, keep those bands near the TV & use them while you watch your favourite show. Whatever works for you, just do it!


IMPORTANT NOTE: if you already have osteoporosis check with your medical practitioner first. At certain advanced stages any high impact exercise or even twisting movement can cause fractures.


Think I'm being a little dramatic? check out these facts, then come back and read on about prevention. https://osteoporosis.ca/about-the-disease/


Consider taking a high quality magnesium/Calcium/Vitamin D supplement. Emphasis on the high-quality aspect – you are probably aware that supplements are poorly regulated. In fact according to the FDA a product is required to contain only a minimum of 30% of what is on the label. 30%!! Yikes – don't pay for 'bedpan bullets'. For about $1/day you can have the best. Don’t sell your health to the lowest bidder – not when this much is at risk. This is anecdotal, but I have had clients that were able to decrease or even discontinue their prescribed osteo drugs after a couple of years on this high quality Magnesium/Calcium supplement. For less than $1 a day. Are you worth it? Heck ya, you are! If you think you (or someone you love) is worth it, please reach out to me.


So….sorry for the ‘rant’ but my mission is to help as many people as possible to live long, active vibrant lives. If you have to worry about a fracture then you probably aren't living live to the fullest. And I want nothing more than than a life full of vitality for you. Lovingly...


oh a little p.s. If you're thinking "I don't need to worry about that for another 20 years, it's an old people problem, think again. The time for prevention is NOW. We can only add to bone density when we are young...after about 35 it's all about maintenance.

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