We cannot slow the passing of time or change the effects that aging has on our bodies. There are steps that you can take, however, to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Remember, even if you are well past the menopause, or your physician has told you that you already have osteoporosis, it is never too late to act. Your physician will advise you.
Changing Your Lifestyle
A great deal of information is available to us on how to improve our general health, and much of the information is relevant to our bones.
Give up smoking
If you have not already given up smoking for the sake of your lungs, heart, and circulation, osteoporosis is another reason to stop! There are many ways to help you give up smoking, and your physician will be able to advise you on the best way for you to stop.
Reduce your alcohol intake
A small amount of alcohol may not harm you, but if you drink regularly, you may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Your physician will be able to advise you as to whether you need to cut down on your alcohol intake and how to do this.
Regular exercise helps to prevent bone loss and is good for your heart, as well. You do not have to exercise vigorously to obtain benefit. More important is that you exercise regularly. A walk with the dog every day is much better than an active game of tennis once a week. The key is not to push yourself too hard to begin with, especially if you have not exercised for a while. Even if you are housebound or, indeed, if you already have osteoporosis, there are some simple exercises that you can do. You should consult your physician before you begin any exercise program.
One of the most important ways to reduce your risk for developing osteoporosis is to have a strong skeleton in the first place! By making sure that children have plenty of calcium in their diet, we ensure that their bones are strong. After 20 to 30 years of age, our bones stop growing, but good evidence suggests that maintaining an adequate calcium intake is important, whatever your age.
The following foods are rich in calcium:
Milk 770 mg/500 ml (whole or skimmed)
Cheese 760 mg/100 g
Yogurt 150 mg/100 g
Bread 7.5 to 45 mg/slice
Sardines 440 mg/100 g
Broccoli 100 mg/100 g
Eggs 27 mg/egg
Other dietary sources that are rich in calcium include:
•all milk products such as ice cream
A daily intake of 1000 mg of calcium is recommended for most adults, although if you are postmenopausal, you may need to increase your daily intake to 1500 mg.
If you are not getting adequate calcium in your diet, your physician will be able to advise you of the appropriate steps to take.