Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones are calcium deficient and highly porous, which can lead to broken bones, spinal curvature, and general discomfort. Women are more frequently affected by osteoporosis than men, and it is estimated that up to half of Caucasian and Asian women over 50 will suffer a broken bone as a direct result of osteoporosis. While it can be treated, it is far better to prevent osteoporosis, and steps for prevention can be undertaken at any age.
The first and most important way to prevent osteoporosis is to increase your calcium uptake and to help your body retain calcium. Most individuals need between 1,000-1,300 milligrams of calcium each day to build and maintain healthy bones. Calcium can be found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, soy, and some dairy products. Taking a calcium supplement can also help prevent osteoporosis, as long as the supplement is taken with food and the total dosage is distributed throughout the day: your body cannot absorb 1,000 milligrams of calcium all at once. Teens can prevent osteoporosis by keeping their calcium intake high: no time in life after your teens is too early, or late, to start taking calcium.
Combine calcium intake with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain calcium, which is why many milks come with a vitamin D supplement. There are many sources for this valuable nutrient. For people living in warm climates, spending some time in the sun every day will provide enough vitamin D. You can also find vitamin D in egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver.
Studies have shown that being physically active greatly helps to prevent osteoporosis. Start engaging in exercise such as jogging, weight lifting, hiking, or racket sports. Your body will benefit as a whole from more exercise, and you will also build stronger, healthier bones. In addition, avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, and large amounts of caffeine. All of these habits can actively strip calcium from your bones, leading a loss in bone density.
Regular bone density tests will not prevent osteoporosis, but they can arrest it early. If a bone density test reveals that you are at risk, you can increase your calcium intake and talk to your doctor about medication options. Osteoporosis cannot be cured: medications can only treat the symptoms, reducing the risk of fracture and making the patient more comfortable. Therefore, it is crucial that you monitor your bone density to catch osteoporosis before it becomes severe.
By following common sense health precautions, you will prevent osteoporosis from emerging later in life. In addition, you will live a healthier and more pleasant lifestyle overall. Women in particular need to act to prevent osteoporosis, although men are at risk as well, and should take regular bone density tests to make sure that their bones are healthy.