Food sources of calciumWhich disease would you say a woman over 50 is more likely to die from: Breast cancer or Osteoporosis?

Well, the statistics say that the chance of death from these two diseases is equal. Shockingly, hip fractures are one of the leading causes of death in people over 50, and over 80% of hip fractures are due to osteoporosis. The current US estimates put the number of people with osteoporosis at 60 million by the year 2020. This is a preventable disease and one that requires intervention and attention from a public health standpoint.

So what can you do?

Most of us know about osteoporosis and understand that we should “eat right and exercise” to prevent this disease. And the most critical time in our lives to do this is from age 15 to 25. That’s when our peak bone mass is built in the body. This is what you’ll start with, because after age 35 bone loss is faster than bone building and we all start a long steady decline in bone density. This doesn’t mean that everyone will get osteoporosis though.

The rate of bone loss depends heavily on three factors: Where you started (peak bone mass), exercise and nutrition. Since it’s probably too late for most of us to change our peak bone mass, we have to work hard on the other two components to slow the rate of bone loss as much as possible. If you have children, ensure they get the best start possible.

Like most things in life, this is not a quick fix but a long term strategy. Bone turnover takes years, and to change the rate of bone loss, you have to maintain the proper exercise and nutrition over that whole time period, luckily it is a long term process, so it’s OK to skip a few days and take a balanced approach. The more risk factors you have, the harder you may need to work to prevent this disease.

Here are the risk factors for osteoporosis development:

  • Female with a small frame of Caucasian/Asian descent
  • Early Menopause or prolonged hormonal imbalances
  • Known calcium and vitamin D deficiencies
  • Insufficient weight bearing physical activity in early life and currently
  • Smoking, excess caffeine intake (more than 3 cups a day), more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day
  • Regular use of certain medications (glucocorticoids, thyroid hormone, anti-convulsants, and
    aluminum-containing antacids)
  • History of eating disorders

Here are some tips to help in the prevention and management of osteoporosis:

Regular exercise routine:
Exercise puts stress on the bone and helps it strengthen and remodel. Exercise for at least 20 minutes 3 times a week. Weight-bearing activities such as jogging, walking, stair climbing, playing sports, aerobics, and dancing, are all beneficial. Make it something you enjoy doing and will help with flexibility and balance. Resistance exercises that increase muscle mass and strengthen bones are recommended and can be body-weight, resistance bands or machines. Spend time outdoors. Exposure to sunlight increases your level of vitamin D—a necessary element for absorption of calcium, which prevents osteoporosis development.

Proper Nutrition and Supplementation:
Decrease consumption of foods high in phosphorus such as soda, potato chips, hot dogs, bacon, beer, biscuits, crackers, white rice, liver, bologna and peanuts. Too much phosphorus decreases absorption of calcium and other minerals which weakens bone. Calcium is and essential building block and good absorbable sources are milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, kale, spinach, and rhubarb. If you are wondering about a calcium or vitamin D supplement ask our doctors and consider lab testing to determine your levels.

Source: http://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics

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