Like our muscles, our bones get stronger when they are put under pressure. Because people living with hemophilia may have joint disease and tend to do less weight-bearing exercise, they are at a greater risk of having low bone density when they are young. But there are things people living with hemophilia can do to help keep their bones healthy.
Exercise helps bone health.
If you or your child has hemophilia, being active may seem intimidating. But the right exercises—generally, ones that are low on physical contact and easy on the joints—can build strong, dense bones. Exercise can also build your muscles, which can prevent bleeds, and help you keep a healthy weight—putting less strain on your joints. The CVS Specialty Hemophilia CareTeam can help you find activities that are right for you or your child.
Talk with your hemophilia treatment center (HTC) staff and your doctor before starting any new workout program. Activities you may want to try include:
- Bicycle riding
- Tai Chi (an exercise that uses a series of slow, focused movements)
The right exercises—generally, ones that are low on physical contact and easy on the joints—can build strong, dense bones.
Other activities such as baseball, soccer and basketball may also be safe with your doctor’s approval.
Meeting dietary needs.
Another way to keep bones healthy is with a balanced diet, rich in calcium. Calcium is important for growing healthy bones, and milk, cheese and yogurt are all good sources of calcium. You can also get lots of calcium from dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds such as almonds and sesame seeds, and a variety of beans. These and other healthy foods will not only help build strong bones, but they can also help keep your weight under control.
Screening for bone density.
Screening for bone density is done with an easy, low cost test called a dual-energy X-ray absorption (DEXA) scan. DEXA is used to see if you have, or are at risk for, osteoporosis. With osteoporosis, your bone mineral density is very low and you have more porous bones—which are more likely to break.
Work with your HTC and CVS Specialty Hemophilia CareTeam to learn what you can do to improve your bone health and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.