Osteoporosis is a serious condition in which the bones become weak and can break more easily. It leads to approximately two million fractures yearly. The complications from these fractures kill as many women as breast cancer. Follow these tips to help prevent this condition:
Get enough of the mineral calcium. Calcium-rich foods include nonfat and lowfat dairy, sardines, collard greens, soybeans, tofu, turnip greens, salmon, and calcium-fortified orange juice. If you are not getting enough calcium, ask your doctor about supplements.
Get enough vitamin D. It is available in only a few foods: fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and fortified dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals. Ask your doctor about getting your balance of vitamin D through sunlight and/or supplements.
Strengthen your bones with physical activity. It is particularly important to get weight-bearing exercise such as dancing, walking, and stair climbing and muscle-strengthening exercise such as weight lifting and using weight machines.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. They contain bone-essential nutrients such as protein, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins C, D, and K. People who consume plenty of fruits and vegetables have higher bone density scores and less evidence of bone loss.
Maximize bone mass while you are young. The sooner you begin acquiring these healthy habits, the better.
Get tested. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) provides a safe, reliable, and painless measurement of bone mineral density. A baseline DEXA scan is often recommended as women begin menopause followed by periodic scans in an effort to monitor bone loss.
Avoid additional risk factors:
– Soda contains phosphates. Consuming too much soda, particularly cola, lowers blood levels of calcium.
– Cigarette smoke and alcohol are linked to osteoporosis and fractures.
– Estrogen loss. If you have stopped having regular periods, speak with your doctor about the best ways to protect your bones.