Keeping your bones healthy
Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease that decreases bone mass and affects over 10 million Americans. The risk of getting it increases with age. The disease affects mostly older women and the two main contributing factors are estrogen deficiency and aging. However, with proper treatment hazardous bone deterioration can be slowed down or even reversed in some women. Bones could be made stronger and the risk of bone fractures can be lowered.
Here are some helpful tips to achieve this:
- Learn about the growth cycle of the bones. From childhood through before age 30, our bones build in mass, but around menopause, this process begins to slow down and the rate of bone loss increases. So, it is better to start early in life.
- Take calcium to build bone density. The recommended dietary allowance is 1,000 milligrams for women aged 19 to 50. You can also find calcium in most citrus fruits like oranges and dairy products like cheese.
- Get a little sun. The skin produces vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun. This helps the body soak up calcium, but be careful! Too much exposure isn’t good for the skin. Some of the foods that contain Vitamin D include liver and salmon.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can improve bone mass. Push yourself a little because bones grow accustomed to the same level of activity but don’t push too hard because a stress fracture may occur.
- Maintain a normal body weight. Some studies indicate that thinner women have an increased chance of bone fractures.
- Get a heel measurement. Bone-scanning devices use low-dose radiation to measure bone density.
These options are achievable and can dramatically improve a woman’s chance of avoiding bone fragility. Always consult your doctor before implementing any of these tips.
For more information about osteoporosis, how to prevent it and how to treat it, please visit theNIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resources Center.