8 Tips to Improve Your Bone Health and Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can result in painful fractures of the bones, particularly the hips and spine. As we age, we become more susceptible to osteoporosis as well as spine fractures, which are called compression fractures.
Take care of your bones and reduce your risk of osteoporosis with these tips:
1. Know the risk factors of developing osteoporosis, such as age, gender, race, body type, family history, menstrual history, and personal lifestyle. Family history is an especially important risk factor, so discuss incidents of osteoporosis in your family with your spine specialist.
2. Test your bone mineral density with a quick and painless test called a DEXA scan. After age 30, our bodies slowly start losing bone strength, but a DEXA scan measures current bone strength.
3. Increase your calcium intake to promote bone strength and to help your heart, muscles, blood, and nerves. Without enough calcium, your body will pull it out of your bones, making them weaker. See this list for foods that are calcium-rich.
4. Add some vitamin D to your diet, too. This key vitamin helps your body to absorb calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and transfer it to the bones. This list offers foods that are rich in vitamin D.
5. Change up your exercise routine with weight-bearing activities like jogging, walking, climbing stairs, hiking, and dancing. Aim for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week for better bone health.
6. Cut back on alcohol use. It’s not completely understood how alcohol affects bones, but studies show that people who consume more than 3 ounces of alcohol per day (around 6 drinks) increase their likelihood of bone loss.
7. Curb the smoking, too, because it increases your risk of osteoporosis by reducing blood flow to the bones, which impairs calcium absorption and slows the production of bone-forming cells.
8. Ask your doctor whether you could benefit from osteoporosis-fighting medications. Medicines like Fosamax, Boniva, and Actonel help to treat and prevent osteoporosis.