Osteoporosis is one of the most common and prevalent musculoskeletal conditions found in the United States. The primary characteristics of this condition are weak and fragile bones which may break with just a slight jerk or trauma. Osteoporosis is seen mostly in females above the age of 30 years old and is common in postmenopausal females. Osteoporosis is preceded by a bone condition called osteopenia.1 This condition arises when there is significant bone loss in the body due to lack of calcium and vitamin D. As a result of calcium and vitamin D deficiency the body starts to take up the calcium absorbed in the bones and the teeth for body functions, which results in bone loss making the bones weak and fragile causing osteopenia and subsequently osteoporosis.
A bone mineral density test is the way to identify whether a female has osteopenia or osteoporosis. There have been cases where osteoporosis has been shown to run in families giving a genetic link to this condition. It has also been seen that osteoporosis is seen more in individuals who are of short stature than people who are tall.
How Do You Reduce The Risk Of Osteoporosis?
Once a female enters the third decade of her life the first question that comes to her mind is to get a bone density test and if there is a risk for osteoporosis how to reduce the risk.
In order to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, it is important to identify the risks for osteoporosis first and deal with them in a timely manner. Given below are some ways of reducing the risk of osteoporosis:
Eat Calcium Rich Diet & Avoid Acidic Foods: Lifestyle modification is perhaps the best way to reduce the risk for osteoporosis.2 This starts with the diet that the individual takes along with the amount of exercise that the individual does. A diet high in calcium and vitamin D helps in reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
The individual should have a diet rich in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Green vegetables like spinach and radish are also something that can be incorporated in the diet to reduce the risk for osteoporosis. Juices, cereals, breads can also be taken to increase the levels of calcium in the body and to prevent osteoporosis. For vitamin D, fatty fish can be taken like salmon or tuna. However, the best way to get enough vitamin D is through sunlight, especially the early morning sunlight which is extremely rich in vitamin D and beneficial if you want to cut down your risk of osteoporosis. It is also recommended to do “Suryanamaskar,” which is a form of Indian yoga, which is done early in the morning and this may be a rich source for vitamin D with the early morning sunlight and also help in strengthening your bones.
Acidic food is something that should be avoided as if the body has more acidic content then to regulate the acid-base balance; the body takes the base calcium from the bones and teeth which results in bone loss and eventually osteoporosis.
Weight-Bearing & Muscle Strengthening Exercises: Coming to exercises, weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises are highly beneficial in reducing the risk of osteoporosis by building bone strength and density. Dancing and running is something which is easy to do can help a lot in building up bone density and strengthening the bones. However, these exercises are not recommended for individuals who have a history of a fracture or are at a high risk for having a fracture due to osteoporosis. As an alternative, the individual may try speed walking on a treadmill or exercise with a stair machine.
For muscle strengthening, lifting weights at the gym can be extremely helpful in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Squats without weights are also quite helpful in building strength and to reduce the risk for osteoporosis.
Quit Smoking: Other than dietary and exercise modifications, quitting smoking is important if you want to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, as smoking greatly increases the risk of osteoporosis. If you want to keep having strong bones, then you really need to stop smoking.
Cut Down On Alcohol: Alcohol is another risk factor for osteoporosis.3 So to cut down on the risk of osteoporosis, you need to cut down on your alcohol consumption.
So, why wait till you bones become weak and brittle. Start following the above steps today; and have healthy bones for a longer time with the risk of osteoporosis reduced way-way down.
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