Like the framework of a house, your skeleton supports your active life. But did you know osteoporosis could be a silent threat? Osteoporosis is a disease where your bones become brittle and fragile. Because it can begin early and doesn’t always alert you with symptoms — you may not even know you have it until something breaks.
So, how can you tell if you’re at risk?
Your risk for osteoporosis is affected by gender, age, body size, ethnicity, and family history. And while you can’t control those risks, you can take other preventative measure to help safeguard your health. Low estrogen levels, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol can all contribute to the development of the disease. Even some medications can contribute to your risk.
You can also find out if you are at risk by asking your doctor to get your calcium and vitamin levels checked. Or, if you are a postmenopausal woman over the age of 50, ask your doctor about receiving a bone density test. This exam can diagnosis osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs.
What can you do about it?
Shake yourself of the idea that osteoporosis is just part of growing older. There are many things you can do starting today to avoid it or slow its progression. Top of the list: Get enough calcium and vitamin D – and start moving.
As a kid, you probably heard “drink your milk” daily. Turns out, that was good advice. Milk is a good source of calcium, the nutrient that helps build strong bones.
A healthy diet should supply your need for calcium. Calcium is important to your body’s ability to use vitamin D, and you’ll also find it in yogurt, cheese, orange juice, cereals, and breads.
2. Vitamin D
Eating the right foods and getting some sun time should contribute enough vitamin D, but you also may need to take it in pill form. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Want to make a significant impact on osteoporosis at any stage of life? Get a move on!
That doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym. Walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can be just what the doctor ordered. Don’t have 30 minutes free? Break it up into ten-minute segments as you find time.
Not a fan of walking? Any kind of weight-bearing exercise gets the job done. So yes, you’re allowed to dance your way to good bones. Dance, jog, play basketball, hike, whatever gets you competing with gravity is a good thing. Want to kick it up a notch? Pick up something heavy.
Adding resistance training brings potential benefits no matter your age. In a study in 2000, researchers found that high- and moderate-intensity resistance exercises have a positive effect on bone density.
The best way to make all this work is to bring a friend along.
There’s nothing quite like having someone sweating out the last few minutes of a workout alongside you. Working out as a team helps keep you committed when you feel like giving up.
The specialists at Women’s Care Florida can help you deal with osteoporosis. Call to learn more or schedule an appointment.