Are you at risk for bone loss or fractures? Most people assume that they are not at risk since they experience no symptoms. However, bone damage can occur without any obvious warning signs. The risk for osteoporosis, a common medical condition that causes the weakening of the bones, increases for both men and women with age. Weakened bones increase your risk for unexpected bone fractures and osteoporosis actually accounts for 2 million fractures every year. Here are some additional clues that you are at risk:
- There is a family history of bone fractures
- You have taken medications (steroids, some cancer, thyroid and anticonvulsant drugs), that might weaken bones
- You are underweight
- You smoke or drink alcohol excessively
- You are postmenopausal
There are several proactive steps you can take now to protect your bone health. This is especially urgent if you are at risk for osteoporosis or nearing the age that increases your risk for this condition.
Calcium and Vitamin D for Bone Health
Calcium is found in foods like milk, milk products and calcium fortified juices and cereals. Enjoy some high calcium snacks such as yogurt or cheese. If your daily dietary intake falls short of the 1000 to 1200 milligrams (mg) of calcium needed after 50, take a calcium supplements.
Your body also needs vitamin D to absorb the mineral calcium. Be sure you get adequate vitamin D from a diet rich in foods such as egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, or fatty fish like salmon or tuna. Your body also absorbs vitamin D from daily exposure to sunlight. A vitamin D supplement can also help you achieve the 600 and 800 international units (IUs) of vitamin D needed daily for good bone health.
Exercise Improves Bone Density
The best exercise for maintaining bone density is simple. Walking 3 to 5 miles per week will maintain bone density. The actual “pounding the pavement” is beneficial for both muscle tone and bone health.
A proactive approach combining a diet adequate in calcium and vitamin D, with regular exercise, can reduce the risk for bone loss and fractures. Start your prevention plan today or learn more about our Bone Health & Osteoporosis Program.