Women seem to experience the onset or early stages of bone loss when estrogen levels drop around the age of menopause. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men for this reason. There are three main factors that you should monitor throughout your life that will help in the prevention osteoporosis. Needed are an adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D and regular exercise.
Consider your health status as a young person, vibrant and active, able to complete the simplest tasks without pain or inhibited mobility. Practicing osteoporosis prevention early and continuously will help you to maintain an active life into your senior years by strengthening your skeletal system and preventing the onset of osteoporosis.
The amount of calcium needed from birth to the senior years varies greatly with infants up to one year old requiring up to 270 milligrams per day, and people over the age of 51 requiring up to 1,200 milligrams per day. If you are lactose intolerant (unable to consume dairy products), there are many other alternatives to reach your daily calcium goal. According to mayoclinic.com, other sources of calcium include almonds, broccoli, spinach, cooked kale, sardines, canned salmon containing softened bones, and tofu-a soy product. There are also over the counter calcium supplements available at most retail drug and grocery stores.
Vitamin D is equally important at the general recommended dosage of between 400 and 1,000 IU’s or individual units per day. Getting plenty of sunlight is not always the best regimen for Vitamin D intake due to the increased risk of skin cancer and the variance of sunny versus cloudy days. Vitamin D is essential for proper metabolism of calcium, and aids calcium absorption according to lip.oregonstate.edu. If you are vitamin D deficient, your body may signal calcium to leave the bones to balance serum calcium levels in the blood, increasing your risk of osteoporosis.
Exercise is important to build strong bones and also slows down bone loss. Strength training exercises for your upper body help strengthen bones in the arms and spine, while weight bearing exercises for the lower body such as walking, jogging and impact sports help strengthen bones in the legs, hips and lower spine according to mayclinic.com. Swimming and biking are not impact exercises and while they do strengthen the cardiovascular system, they do not specifically promote bone strengthening.
NOF.org recommends taking bone density tests when age appropriate to detect early warning signs of bone loss. Smoking increases bone loss and alcohol-more than two drinks per day-can decrease bone formation and both activities should be avoided for overall general health.
Mayoclinic.com : Prevention
LPI.oregonstate.edu : Vitamin D : Calcium Balance
Medicinenet.com : What is Osteoporosis