(WHTM) — May is National Osteoporosis and Prevention Month. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to sudden and unexpected fractures.

Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Ardeshir Hashmi says some people may not even know they have it.

“Unfortunately, most people find out the hard way. They sort of — they have a fall. They don’t think they’ve ever broken anything before and they say, ‘Well the fall wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I didn’t think I would get these fractures,’ and yet there they are with a fracture. By definition, that fragility fracture is that you have osteoporosis,” Dr. Hashmi said.

The good news, however, is that Osteoporosis can largely be prevented. Dr. Hashmi says the key is to start healthy habits early on, which include eating foods that have calcium to support bone health.

Taking the right supplements such as Vitamin D and of course, exercising.

Dr. Hashmi says the latest research shows it can be beneficial to combine strength and aerobic training. However, you should be careful not to overdo it so you do not get hurt.

Also, you do not have to necessarily go to the gym. There are physical activities a person can do, such as walking, climbing stairs, or riding a bike. You can even dance or do some gardening; it all depends on what you enjoy.

“For some people, it’s actually even water-type of exercising, so aquatic therapy or swimming. But that gives you a more aerobic sort of exercise. The resistance does come though, and it actually comes from the counter-pressure of the water. So if I was in the pool just walking around, that would give me some strength training and some aerobic exercise as well,” Dr. Hashmi said.

Dr. Hashmi says for those who may be concerned that they are at risk for osteoporosis or think they have it, it is important to talk to your physician. They can conduct different tests, like a bone density scan.