What is Osteoporosis and How Can You Prevent It?

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the body either loses bone or is deficient in making new bone. It is both common and dangerous, as it can make people more vulnerable to fracture.

Though osteoporosis most commonly strikes women over the age of fifty, it can impact men as well. People who have osteoporosis lose height and develop a characteristic stooped over posture that often develops into a hunchback or hump in the back.

Though there are medications that you can take to decrease your risk of osteoporosis, there are also simple measures that you can take without your doctor’s help that will make a big difference.

Get More Calcium

As adults, men are supposed to ingest at least 1000 mg of calcium a day, and after 70 the number goes up to 1,200 mg. For women the amount is the same but increases to 1,200 mg per day when they turn 50. You can get calcium through supplements, but it’s also present in favorite foods, including yogurt and milk, green leafy vegetables, fruits like pineapple and berries, and fish. Tofu and other soy-based products also contain calcium.

Get Less Caffeine and Salt

You may think that your coffee habit isn’t hurting, but too much caffeine can sap your bone mineral density and make you more vulnerable to osteoporosis. Be particularly aware of this if you get your energy boost from soda, as the phosphoric acid present in some cans boosts the amount of calcium you excrete.

Beyond calcium, the salt that you take in contains sodium, which also increases the amount of calcium that you excrete. You don’t have to exclude sodium from all of your foods, but definitely stop adding it to what you’re already eating.

Get More Vitamin D

This essential nutrient helps you hold onto the calcium in the food you eat. It’s recommended that you get a minimum of 600 IUs per day, and you can have as much as 2,000 IUs.  Vitamin D is found in salmon, herring, sardines and canned tuna, as well as eggs and fortified milk.

Get More Sleep

It’s hard to believe that getting too little shut-eye can have such a significant impact on your health, but studies have shown that people who suffer from insomnia and/or sleep apnea have a higher risk of osteoporosis and subsequent fractures. Make sure that your bedroom is cool and quiet, and stay away from screens for at least an hour before going to bed.

Get Plenty of Exercise

One of the best ways to keep your bones healthy is by doing weight bearing and resistance exercises that will help you maintain and build bone mass. It’s also important to do balance exercises, especially those that help you learn how to fall without hurting yourself.

If you are suffering pain or disability as a result of osteoporosis or would like help with other issues affecting your spine, contact our lumbar spine specialty practice today to set up an appointment.

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