Osteoporosis can be a devastating and debilitating disease, marked by the weakening of bones and the constant risk of unexpected fractures. For most people, bones are always changing and forming new bone. With the onset of osteoporosis, however, more bone is lost than is re-grown. While the bones remain the same size, the outside wall of the bone grows thinner, and the holes in spongy bone grow larger. Sadly, with the aging population of our country, the number of Americans diagnosed each year with osteoporosis will increase.
Here are a few tips to help you prevent the onset of this disease:
· Exercise. Perform weight-bearing exercises to encourage your bones to grow. Perform strength-training exercises that focus on your upper body and endurance training two days each week. Be sure to include a variety of different exercises that will stimulate as many different bones as possible. Aim at performing your exercise routine for at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times each week.
· Focus on your nutrition. Because bones are made of calcium and protein, it is important to include plenty of calcium in your diet, whether in the form of food or nutritional supplements. In addition to finding calcium in dairy, you can also get it from nuts, seeds, beans, peas, fish with bones, and green vegetables. Make sure that you also get enough vitamin D in order to metabolize the calcium. Vitamin D is primarily acquired from sunlight; however, it can also be found in fortified milk products and nutritional supplements. In addition to calcium, your diet should also be rich in fiber and low in fat.
· Stop smoking. Smoking not only damages your bones, but it also lowers estrogen, which increases the likelihood that you will develop osteoporosis.
· Cut back on drinking. Excess use of alcohol impairs the body’s ability to use the calcium you are consuming.
· Medication. Speak to your doctor to make sure that any medications you use are not increasing your risk. Also make a point to inquire about medications that can prevent you from developing the disease.
At North Hills Hospital, we offer a wide range of resources to help you protect your health. The David Pillow Senior Health Clinic can help assess any bone issues you may have as you age. And our Orthopedic Surgery Center can help treat any skeletal problems you develop. Visit us online or use this physician referral service.