Osteoporosis is a common condition affecting around 8 million American women, but it’s something that creeps up on you, leaving you unaware until your bones become so weak they begin to fracture. Osteoporosis begins to develop in your middle years when the normal and automatic process of bone loss and replacement is thrown out of balance.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent osteoporosis from developing and proving problematic for you and the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to. Let’s explore three of them and how we can help you at The Association for Women’s Health Care in Illinois.
There’s a close link between nutrition and osteoporosis, so it’s worth eating well now to prevent brittle bones from becoming a problem for you in the future. Bone is a living tissue that’s constantly being broken down and replaced. Calcium is a key nutrient used as a building block in this process, and vitamin D helps your body to absorb and use that essential calcium.
Women under the age of 50 need a well-balanced diet with enough dairy to meet the recommended amount of calcium of 1,000 milligrams per day (1,200 milligrams if older), so opt for foods like:
You need 600 international units (IU) per day of vitamin D, which you can find in:
While you can take supplements to top off and maintain your calcium and vitamin D levels, you should always aim to get enough from your diet because it’s easier for your body to digest and absorb.
While your DNA is responsible for determining your height and the strength of your skeleton, your lifestyle choices can influence how healthy your bones are. Exercising regularly is essential to improve bone density and to help prevent osteoporosis.
Bone density is how much calcium and other minerals are packed into a segment of bone and determines how strong it is. X-rays and scans can measure your bone density and determine if you are at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercises are particularly important to prevent bone deterioration as you age, especially if your bone density is found to be low. Aim for muscle-strengthening exercise at least twice a week, such as yoga or Pilates, and high-impact exercise like a dance class or aerobics to keep your bones in great condition.
Alcohol and tobacco are responsible for many health problems, including bone loss. Heavy drinking can dramatically affect your bone health and increase your risk of developing osteoporosis as you get older. That’s because alcohol prevents your body from absorbing calcium properly.
Similarly, studies have also shown a direct link between smoking cigarettes and decreased bone density. Although it’s not known what causes this effect, it’s understood that women who smoke regularly are more likely to go through menopause earlier than non-smokers. And the drop in estrogen during menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis considerably.
If you’re concerned about osteoporosis, book an appointment with us at The Association for Women’s Health Care today to test your bone density and receive a comprehensive treatment plan to rebuild your bones and prevent fractures. Simply book online or give us a call.