Many think that osteoporosis is a disease effecting only the elderly. One may associate osteoporosis with older women whose backs are slightly hunched over and can no longer stand up straight. The truth is that an estimated 20 million American women suffer from osteoporosis, and 80% of them don’t even know it.
Osteoporosis is a chronic, progressive condition that steals bone from the body, leading to fractures of the spine, hip and wrist. Older people can suffer significant disability and even death from osteoporosis-related fractures. Alarmingly, one in two women and one in eight men will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture in his or her lifetime.
Many people confuse osteoporosis with arthritis, and wait for swollen joints and discomfort before being tested. Even though osteoporosis is painless until a bone fracture occurs, it is important discuss your bone health with your doctor and adjust your lifestyle to build strong bone early in life and prevent falls later in life.
Cole Pain Therapy Group recommends these tips to build strong bones:
- Start a regular exercise program. Walking, skipping rope, running, playing racquet sports, and weight lifting are all helpful in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Exercising for 30 minutes, five times a week, has major health benefits.
- Weight lifting (heavy weights) is the single best exercise to build and maintain bone.
- For those with diagnosed osteopenia (early bone loss) or osteoporosis, it is important to consult a health professional to avoid exercises that may result in stress fractures.
- Those with severe osteoporosis and who have suffered from fractures should consider Tai Chi, a form of martial art, to build functional strength and balance.
- When purshasing a for a calcium supplement, look for one that’s highly absorbable, such as microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC). But don’t overdo it. Taking more than the recommended amount of calcium (1,000-15,000mg) may increase your risk for kidney stones.
- Calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium (taken in a 2:1 calcium to magnesium ratio) is optimal for bone health.
- Eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, of 75% vegetables/ fruit and 25% lean meat and some nuts. Try broccoli, kale, greens, cabbage and spinach, which are excellent sources of calcium.
- Avoid caffeine, carbonated sodas, baked goods, and junk food.