Part of being a woman means paying attention to bone health throughout your life. Osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle leading to an increased risk of bone fracture, is extremely common in women especially after menopause.
A number of factors can affect bone health
- A diet low in calcium contributes to low bone density.
- Physically inactive people have a higher risk of osteoporosis.
- Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. In addition, regular intake of two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Women have less bone tissue than men do.
- You are at risk of osteoporosis if you are extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less).
- Your bones become thinner and weaker as you age. Actually, calcium loss starts by age of 30
- Having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
- Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. Prolonged absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
- People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery; weight-loss surgery can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Long-term use of steroid medications are damaging to bones. Other medications that might increase the risk of osteoporosis include some breast cancer treatments, some anti-seizure medications and some antidepressants.
Here are a few simple steps to prevent or slow bone loss
Increase your calcium intake: To keep bones healthy, experts recommend that adults ages 19 to 50 consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day. That number increases to 1,200 mg for women over 50.
Good sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, salmon, sardines and soy products. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor about supplements.
Tip: Spreading out your calcium intake throughout the day increases absorption.
Pay attention to Vitamin D: Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is very common.
The ultimate source of vitamin D is sunlight. Dietary sources include oily fish (tuna, Mackerel and sardines), egg yolks, and fortified milk. If you are worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.
Tip: If you are taking a vitamin D supplement, take it with a fatty meal for better absorption.
Include physical activity in your daily routine: Regular exercising can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.
Tip: Strength training and weight bearing exercise help protect against bone loss in younger and older women.
Stay away from tobacco and alcohol: Consult your doctor if you are concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis or osteomalacia, a condition that precedes osteoporosis, your doctor might recommend a bone density test. The results, in addition to your medical and social history, can help your doctor assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss.
Source – Mayo Clinic