Women usually have less bone density than men. Once menopause begins, even that bone density can begin to break down as estrogen loss increases the likelihood of weaker bones. Over 50% of women over the age of 50 will eventually break a bone due to osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
Bones Need the Right Amount of Calcium
If you are eating a healthy diet with foods that contain calcium, you may already be getting the proper amount of this nutrient. Women up to age 50 should have an intake of 1,000 mg of calcium daily. Older women should get 1,200 mg daily.
If you add up the calcium in the foods and beverages you ingest and it is not enough, you can add supplements to your diet. If the label on the food says it provides 25% of your daily calcium, that means you are getting 250 mg in one serving of that food.
Calcium alone is not quite enough. Your body also needs vitamin D to help absorb the calcium and use it to strengthen bones. Your body naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight but indoor living, sunscreen use and less sun during winter months contribute to vitamin D deficiency. Women under 70 are recommended to have 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day and those over 70 should have 800 IU.
Exercise for Bone Health
One of the best ways to keep your bones strong and healthy is through exercise. Weight bearing exercise is the best for building bone strength. Walking 30 minutes every day can make a big difference. Resistance exercises are also good for keeping bones healthy. Water aerobics, using elastic bands or weights will increase your muscle strength, help you become more balanced and help minimize your chances of falling.
Get a Bone Density Test
Find out what condition your bones are in by taking a bone density test. This fast, painless test will let you know your risk for osteoporosis. Most people do not find out it is a problem until after they break a bone. Consider getting tested if:
- You are a postmenopausal woman
- You are over 65
- You have lost over 1.5 inches of height
- You have unexplained back pain
- Your posture is more hunched
- Your hormone levels have decreased
- You break a bone after age 50
Men and women can get osteoporosis. It can be caused by some types of medication in addition to lack of calcium and natural causes. Talk to your doctor about osteoporosis and your options if you have this disease.
Posted on behalf of Sovereign Rehabilitation
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Suite 225
Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 835-3340