Building Strong Bones
With May being National Osteoporosis Month, it is a perfect time to learn more about this condition. Most adults have heard of osteoporosis but have no idea exactly what the disease entails and how they could be at risk. Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones of the body have become weak and are more easily breakable. It is not uncommon for an individual with osteoporosis to break bones at the wrist, spine or hip.
In the US, millions of people are at high risk of developing osteoporosis or have already been diagnosed. So, what causes osteoporosis? There are several risk factors of the disease that unfortunately cannot be changed. However, there are other proactive steps you can take to avoid issues in the future. Let’s explore the various factors.
Risk Factors that are Unavoidable include:
Being Female: Women are more likely to be diagnosed than men
- Age: The older you are, the higher risk you have of being diagnosed with osteoporosis
Size of the Body: Small/thin women have a greater chance of weak bones
Ethnicity: Women who are Asian or White are at the highest risk
- Family History: If you have a family history of osteoporosis, you may be at risk due to the disease often running in families.
Risk Factors That Can Be Changed Include:
Hormones: Low estrogen levels can cause osteoporosis in females. Low testosterone can create osteoporosis in men. Changing up levels can be helpful in avoiding the disease.
Calcium/Vitamin D: Bone loss will be more prevalent when you do not get enough Vitamin D and calcium. Increase your intake to prevent osteoporosis when you age.
Anorexia nervosa: Individuals who have this eating disorder can eventually be diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Lack of Exercise: When you do not exercise enough, you can be at risk of causing weak bones in the body.
Taking Medication: Some medications can lead to an increased risk of an osteoporosis diagnosis.
- Smoking/Drinking Alcohol: Both are bad for the bones and should be avoided.
Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?
You may be wondering if there are steps you can take to prevent osteoporosis, especially if you fall into the risk factor categories, such as being female. To build strong and healthy bones, be sure to eat a diet that is rich in vitamin D and calcium. Take time to exercise to help make healthy bones and muscles as well as avoiding drinking in excess and smoking.
A healthy diet that includes Vitamin D and calcium will help make your bones strong. Low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. You will also find calcium in foods such as cereals, bread, and orange juice.
Adding in exercise can be as simple as walking or hiking, lifting weights or enjoying an activity such as dancing. Eating well and exercising can be a great start to building healthy and strong bones, to avoid any issues later in life.