4 Strategies to Prevent OsteoporosisIN WOMEN'S HEALTH
When’s the last time you enjoyed a good milk mustache? If you can’t remember, maybe it’s time you “got milk” before it’s too late. Why? Because a lack of calcium is one of the key causes of osteoporosis, a crippling disease characterized by a thinning of the bones that leaves them fragile and overly susceptible to fractures. Sometimes called a silent disease, osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans, most of them postmenopausal women. According to the National Women’s Health Resource Center (www.healthywomen.org), the human body constantly breaks down old bone and replaces it with new, strong bone. This is usually a positive process, but during menopause, the process accelerates. The bones are broken down faster than they can be formed, which can lead to osteoporosis. The following are four strategies for protecting yourself. 1. Calcium: Your body depends on calcium to maintain bone strength and density. You need between 1,000 and 1,300 mg of calcium a day to maintain your bone density. The amount your body needs changes as you grow older, so talk to your doctor about how much is right for you. 2. Vitamin D: This vitamin enables your body to use calcium. It is found in foods like milk, eggs, and fish. Soaking up the sun for about 15 minutes a day will also help your body make the vitamin D it needs. 3. Exercise: Resistance exercises like lifting weights help maintain bones by strengthening muscles, and weight-bearing exercise such as walking helps maintain your current bone mass. 4. Early Screening: Early diagnosis is the key to preventing bone loss in the future. Fortunately, there’s a quick and painless test available to evaluate bone density. It’s called a DEXA scan, and it’s widely available. Talk to your doctor to find out if a DEXA scan is right for you.
|Are You at Risk?|
Women who’ve gone through menopause are at high risk for osteoporosis, but other factors can affect bone mass as well. Here are some things to watch out for, whether menopause is years away or right around the corner.