Osteoporosis prevention tips

Osteoporosis is a serious condition that can lead to severe pain, height loss, and dangerous bone fractures. The disease can start silently with a sufferer only realizing that he or she has osteoporosis at the time of a fracture – when it is too late.  Most people believe that osteoporosis, or thinning bones, is just a part of growing older, but nothing could be further from the truth. 

 

To deal with osteoporosis effectively it is necessary to prevent it as much as possible in the first place – which is possible.  Both men and women are at risk, though women do tend to develop it more frequently.  Other risk factors include aging, low body weight, smoking, low sex hormones, and insufficient exercise.  Prevention and treatment often includes modifying one’s diet, getting enough exercise, and using some medication.

 

The “Big Three”

 

Osteoporosis can be devastating, which is why it is so important to prevent it.  In order to decrease the risk of developing the disease, there are three main factors to keep in mind: calcium, vitamin D, and exercise.  These three elements play an important role in protecting bones throughout life.

 

Building healthy bones throughout childhood is important, but it doesn’t stop there.  Between the ages of 18 and 50, both women and men require at least 1,000mg of calcium every day.  This amount increases at higher ages, especially for women.  It is easy to get plenty of calcium from low-fat dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables, nuts and dried fruits, canned salmon and sardines (still with bones), soy products, and fortified breads and cereals.

 

Vitamin D and calcium go hand-in-hand – without vitamin D, the body cannot effectively absorb calcium.  Most people obtain the amount of vitamin D they need directly from sunlight, but those living in higher latitudes or that tend to stay out of the sun may need additional sources such as supplements.  Fortified milks and cereals, as well as mackerel and other oily fish, are also good sources of vitamin D.

 

A healthy lifestyle must always include a sufficient amount of exercise, but building strong, healthy bones depends on it.  No matter when someone begins an exercise routine, his or her bones will benefit from it.  It is important to combine both strength training and weight-bearing activities along with cardiovascular routines to see the best results.  Ideal exercise routines might include walking and jogging, using a skipping rope and stair climbing, and other impact-producing sports like tennis and volleyball.  Try to work out at least three times each week, for at least a half an hour.

 

Other ways to prevent osteoporosis

 

Changes in one’s lifestyle are also essential in preventing osteoporosis.  Individuals should quit smoking, a habit that can reduce bone density and increase the time it takes for fractures to heal.  Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol may also lead to poor calcium absorption rates, which in turn increases the risk of osteoporosis.  Furthermore, combating depression will also reduce the risk of osteoporosis since depression is associated with increased cortisol levels, which deplete calcium and minerals from the bones.

 

If an individual believes that he or she may be at risk of developing osteoporosis, it never hurts to get a bone density test completed.  This is really the only way to predict the fracture risk and to nail down a solid diagnosis.  Doing so as early as possible is key, so that preventative measures can be taken right away if required.



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