Did you know that May is National Osteoporosis Prevention Month? Osteoporosis has been called the “silent thief”. Osteoporosis or brittle bone disease, affects millions of Americans each year. It robs bone from women (and some men) with no outward signs. Osteoporosis makes bones weak and susceptible to fractures. The first step in prevention is to identify if you are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Think about the following questions that relate to some of the risk factors for osteoporosis.
- How old are you? As we humans grow older, our bones become weaker and less dense.
- Are you a female? Women have a higher risk for developing osteoporosis then men.
- Have you been through menopause? Normal or early menopause can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Do you have a family member that has osteoporosis or weak bones? Osteoporosis is not hereditary, but the susceptibility to fractures can be.
- What is your race? Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
- What type of body structure do you have? Small boned and thin women are at greater risk for osteoporosis.
Certain foods are good sources of calcium. You can include them in meals and snacks. Here are some tips for building strong bones.
- Cut back on coffee and soft drinks. The caffeine in these products can promote calcium loss.
- Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
- Calcium rich foods include:
- Milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Fortified soy foods, fortified orange juice and fortified cereals
- Collards and turnip greens
- If your calcium needs are higher, or you do not eat dairy products, you may need to take a supplement. Check with your doctor.
And don't forget that regular exercise plays an important part in building strong bones. Check with your physician to see which forms of exercise are best for you. Strive to get some physical activity every day to help build strong bones.
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Plan some exercise and physical activity into your day. Get moving! Here are some ideas:
- Walk your pets rather than letting them out in the backyard.
- Take a walk on your breaks and on your lunch hour.
- Park your car ten minutes away from where you are going. Make sure you are in a safe area.
- Do some errands on foot.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when available.
- When watching TV, empty the dishwasher, take out the garbage or throw a load of clothes into your wash machine, during commercials. Imagine how much you can get done during a few commercials!
- Relax with your favorite form of exercise instead of in front of the television.