Osteoporosis is a condition that affects millions of aging individuals in the United States. It causes bones to become thin and weak, which can lead to fractures. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your bones strong and decrease your risk of osteoporosis developing. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the methods you can use to protect your bones as you age.
- Include calcium in your diet. According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70 need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women age 51 and older and men age 71 and older.
Good sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines, and soy products, such as tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor about supplements.
- Make sure you get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, and it also plays a role in bone health. The recommended RDA for adults is 600 international units (IU) per day up to age 70 and 800 IU per day after that.
Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, and tuna. Additionally, mushrooms, eggs, and fortified foods, such as milk and cereals, are good sources of vitamin D. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D. If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep bones strong by increasing muscle mass and strength. It also helps improve balance and coordination, which can help prevent falls – a major risk factor for fractures.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Options include walking, jogging, bicycling, and swimming.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use. Both of these habits can increase your risk for osteoporosis by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D. If you smoke or drink alcohol excessively, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
If you’re concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, including a recent bone fracture, consult your doctor. Depending on your age and other risk factors, you may benefit from having a bone density test to check for osteoporosis. If you have the condition, some medications can help slow down bone loss.
Whether you have questions about bone health or are concerned about potentially having osteoporosis, Dr. Nelson is here to help. To reach his office, please call 435-774-8511.