Slowing down osteoporosis should be a priority for every woman. That sounds like a bold statement, but it is backed by scientific research. We all lose bone mass as we get older. We begin to lose more than we create in our thirties, and by the time we are fifty, we are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million American have osteoporosis and low bone mass, and one in two women 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
With numbers like that, having a prevention plan in place for slowing down osteoporosis is crucial. Unfortunately, osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed until a break occurs. Don’t be caught off-guard by it!
Slowing Down Osteoporosis Starts With Prevention
Preventing the onset of osteoporosis is the best way to combat it. Once you begin to lose bone mass, slowing down osteoporosis is essential to maintaining the bone mass you do have. Making a few changes to your lifestyle now can make all the difference down the line. Here are a few tips for slowing down osteoporosis.
Preventing osteoporosis can actually start as early as your pre-teens. Studies have shown that pre-teens and teens who have a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity significantly reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. If you missed the boat on this one, don’t worry, there is still plenty that you can do as an adult to slow down osteoporosis.
Get 1,000 mg of Calcium Daily
Adults between 19 to 50 years old need at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily while those over 50 need at least 1,200 mg. Calcium is essential to repairing bone mass, and women with osteoporosis are typically low in it.
You can get the required daily amount of calcium by consuming 3 servings (4 if you’re over 50) of milk or dairy products like cheese or yogurt. Other foods like roasted almonds, beans, soybeans, sardines, and salmon are also good sources of calcium.
If you’re not receiving enough calcium from your diet, consult with your doctor about adding a supplement.
Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium into your bones. There’s no point getting in the required amount of calcium if your body can’t use it.
You can get vitamin D via direct exposure to sunlight; however, this should be done in moderation as sunscreen blocks about 90% of your vitamin D production. You can also consume vitamin D from foods like eggs, fish, and shitake mushrooms.
If you’re not getting enough vitamin D in your diet, consult with your doctor before adding in a supplement. Megadoses of vitamin D can cause vitamin D toxicity.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
Among other things, excessive drinking and smoking increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and should, therefore, be avoided.
Caffeine should be consumed in moderation, as it causes you to lose about 150 mg of calcium per cup through your urine.
A body in motion stays in motion. Regular physical activity decreases your risk of developing osteoporosis. A routine that includes some amount of impact (actual pressure) on bones, and varies cardio workouts and weight training is especially beneficial for bone health.
Avoid Prolonged Use of Acid Reducers
Stomach acid, like vitamin D, is required by your stomach to absorb minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Prolonged use of medications that block the stomach from producing acid significantly increases your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Check Your Medications
Aside from acid reducers, there are a number of medications that increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, including corticosteroids and anticonvulsants. Consult with your doctor about any potential side effects your current medications cause, and whether or not they increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.
If you are post-menopausal, it’s absolutely imperative that you get screened for low bone density. When you see your healthcare provider, request a bone mineral density (BMD) test. It is one of the most accurate ways to measure bone mineral density by using a low energy X-ray to measure bone density in the hip or spine.
Slowing down osteoporosis starts with you. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can help protect the longevity of your bones and maintain your range of motion. If you have any questions or would like more information, please call our Wilmette or Glenview offices.