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How to Prevent Osteoporosis

Learn how to prevent osteoporosis with simple lifestyle changes and have stronger bones postmenopause.

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As many as one woman in three aged aged over 65 has osteoporosis, a condition where bones thin and become frail and easily broken.

If you have osteoporosis, even a gentle fall could lead to a broken bone, most commonly in the wrist, hip or spine (vertebrae). Bones in the spine can even break without a fall, because the weight of supporting the body is enough to crush a vertebrae that has already been weakened with osteoporosis.

It's this kind of crush fracture that leads to the hunched back and 'dowager's hump' that often affects older women. Along with it come back pain and height loss. This is why it's so important to do whatever you can to stop osteoporosis from developing.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis

Avoid bone fractures in later life by preventing osteoporosis
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Osteoporosis is a stealthy condition which starts slowly and develops over a long period of time. There are seldom any symptoms - until you break a bone.

Since osteoporosis is so widespread among older women, it makes sense to assume that you could develop the condition, and take whatever steps you can to hold back its progress.

Osteoporosis tends to run in families, and it's your genes that determine the strength of your skeleton. Even so, you can help yourself to have the strongest, healthiest bones possible by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A great resource to help you develop and maintain healthy bones is the Better Bones Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

Healthy Lifestyle for Osteoporosis Prevention

  • Use exercise Exercises for osteoporosis are vital. Use those bones - or lose 'em. Younger people should exercise vigorously to build bone strength. As you go into the menopausal and postmenopausal stages, your exercise should be gentler, but consistent. To keep osteoporosis at bay you must do regular weight bearing exercise.
  • Quit smoking Nicotine makes your body build bone cells less efficiently and also robs the body of calcium, which is essential for strong healthy bones.
  • Cut down on coffee and alcohol Drink too much of these, and your body loses more calcium, bones weaken and you become more susceptible to fractures.
  • Weigh up the benefits of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) HRT replaces oestrogen, and it's the loss of oestrogen postmenopause that gives older women a higher risk of osteoporosis. That's why HRT used to be prescribed to promote stronger bones. Today's thinking is that the possible health risks of taking HRT long-term outweigh the benefits to your skeleton, unless you are a candidate for premenopausal osteoporosis because you have had an early menopause (before the age of 45).
  • Have a good diet, rich in calcium Getting good nutrition via a healthy menopause diet is important, because osteoporosis and lack of calcium go hand in hand.
  • Get enough Vitamin D Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium. The body makes Vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight, so make sure you get out in the sun regularly during the summer months.
  • Consider calcium supplements If you have a healthy and varied diet, you're probably already getting sufficient calcium. If you have osteoporosis risk factors, or think you might be going short of calcium, consult your doctor, who can advise on whether calcium supplements would be useful.

Go from How To Prevent Osteoporosis to Exercises For Osteoporosis.

Go from How To Prevent Osteoporosis to Beat Menopause Weight Gain.

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Walking isn't Enough

"Research has found that low-impact activities, such as walking, are not effective exercise interventions for preventing bone loss in post-menopausal women.

"...exercises that provide a more substantial load on bone should be included. For instance, jogging and weight training may increase bone density in healthy post-menopausal women in a site-specific manner."

Exercise and Bone Strength, by Mariana Shedden MS and Len Kravitz PhD, University of New Mexico


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