You are a woman of today. You may eat the right food and get a decent amount of exercise. You check your blood pressure levels and take expensive tests to check your cholesterol levels. Thanks to the many breast cancer awareness programs and the pink ribbon displays in December, you are well aware of the importance of breast cancer screenings too. While all this is good, the one area where you may not be paying as much attention is to your bone health.
A startling statistic says one in two women will break a bone after the age of 50. This is because of Osteoporosis which is a degenerative disease that eats away your bones, makes it brittle, and increases the risk for fracture. Women are more susceptible to this disease than men since your bones are smaller compared to men. Besides, a drop in estrogen during menopause also affects your bone health. Estrogen keeps the bones healthy and decreasing levels of it reduces the bone protection. That is why it is very important to pay enough attention to your bones from a young age to prevent bone loss at a later stage.
Another reason to consider is the disease of Osteoporosis doesn’t give you visible signals. From as young as 35 years of age, most people lose bone density. If you don’t prevent or stop this from happening to you then the symptoms eventually lead to Osteoporosis. Certain lifestyle habits such as smoking, too much alcohol use, and eating disorders can also lead to Osteoporosis. Besides, if either of your parents has it then there is a 50 percent chance you would inherit it too. So what can you do? Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your bone density levels steady at any age.
Know Your Bone Density
If you want to prevent it, you must know where you stand first. You can know your bone density through a test like a Dexa Scan. Don’t worry, it’s like taking an x-ray; not an invasive procedure. This specific scan reads into your bone health. It is advisable to take this scan as soon as you or your loved one starts menopause. Once you know your point range, you can take effective steps to prevent bone loss.
Increase Your Calcium & Vitamin D
Since your body can’t make calcium on its own, it important to replenish all the calcium you lose daily. Vitamin D is important because it improves the absorption of calcium in your body. If you are under the age of 50, then you should get about 1000 mg of calcium every day coupled with 400-800 IUs of Vitamin D. If you are older than 50, then aim for 1200 mg of calcium and double the amount of Vitamin D. You may not achieve these goals through diet alone. So speak to your doctor about taking proper supplements or change your diet to accommodate it all.
Take in bone-rich nutrition
If you want to meet the calcium and vitamin D from diet alone then you need at least three servings of calcium in your daily diet. Milk is a great source of calcium and so are milk products such as yogurt and cheese. If you are lactose intolerant or find that you have trouble digesting milk after a certain age, then consider eating more servings of dark leafy vegetables like spinach, ladies finger, broccoli, etc.
Replace the fracture-risking drugs
Certain medicines increase the fracture risk. So be open to your doctor about what medications you are taking. Are you wondering which medications might those be? The long-term use of medications such as steroids, some of the cancer medications, and others used to treat thyroid problems are risky. If you’re a frequent user of an antacid that has an aluminum coating, then you are at higher risk of fracture too.
You must move it, move it!
If you think moving around too much will increase the fracture risk, think again. Even if you grow older, your body needs to move. You need to exercise as much as four times a week. You can also go for walks every day to stay active. If you are in a job that keeps you seated most of the day, take a break every 40 minutes to an hour to get up and get moving. If you feel like any part of your body is beginning to get stiff, stretch it gently for five minutes.
Most importantly, pay attention to your lifestyle. If you are a smoker, this is another reason to cut down or quit this bad habit. If you are a heavy drinker, stick to just one or two glasses a day or keep it to a minimum. Get ample amount of rest, nutrition and remember to exercise regularly keep your bones fit and healthy!