How to Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a crippling disease that is affecting more men and women than it should. For a disease that is usually preventable, an estimated 1 in three women over the age of 50 still contract it regularly.

The lack of weight bearing activity, certain medications, and lack of estrogen production and family history are just a few of the risk factors that may cause osteoporosis. Prevention starts in early childhood, with good nutrition and exercise, but it is never to late to alter your lifestyle and prevent a disabling disease.

Eat mineral-rich foods on a regular basis.

For both men and women a total of 1,000 to 1,400 mg a day is the recommended value for your calcium intake. It should not exceed more than 2,000 mg a day. Any more than that amount and the extra calcium can stress the kidneys leading to a risk of kidney stones.

Calcium from food is best. Some good sources of calcium are: low fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream; dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, and spinach; and foods fortified with calcium, such as orange juice, cereals, and breads. Also, good calcium supplements are beneficial when not enough calcium is consumed in one’s diet.

Calcium supplements should be taken according to individual needs. You should also know that calcium is better absorbed if it is taken throughout the day. Calcium taken before bedtime can stop bone growth that occurs every time you sleep, so you should think twice before taking it.

Ensure adequate vitamin D status.

Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium better. Vitamin D mainly comes from sunshine. The body is able to naturally manufacture vitamin D in the skin through direct exposure to sunlight. Skin usually produces enough vitamin D to meet the body’s requirements from 10 to 15 minutes of direct exposure of sunlight to the hands, arms and face, three times a week. The use of sunscreen reduces the skin’s ability to manufacture vitamin D. Fairer skin produces more than darker skin.

Production decreases in the elderly. Vitamin D is also available from food, such as vitamin D-fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. There are also vitamin D supplements. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is between 400 and 800 international units (IU). It is not recommended to consume more than 800 IU per day.

If you are unable to get enough sunlight or do not get enough vitamin D in your diet, you may want to take a vitamin D supplement. Do not take more than 50 micrograms (mcg) or 200 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day. Speak with your doctor before taking any supplement to see what is right for you.

Be physically active.

It has been shown that active women are less likely to suffer from hip fractures than sedentary women. Exercises helps strengthen the bone and being active leads to being healthy. You should participate in weight bearing or resistance exercises. Walking is a weight bearing activity that you can incorporate easily in your daily life. So help strengthen your bones and shake those legs of yours.

Stop smoking

Cigarettes are called cancer sticks for a reason. Aside from lung cancer, smoking contributes to osteoporosis. If you aren’t fazed by all the warnings about cancer maybe an additional disease can help you curb that smoking habit. Not only will you lose your lungs but you’ll have creaking joints and brittle bones.