Prevention of Osteoporosis

Prevention of osteoporosis is possible. It is important to know about the factors that are responsible for keeping our bones healthy, throughout life, including during old age, when the risk of osteoporosis is very high. The factors are:

  • Optimal or adequate intake of calcium (if required calcium supplementation)
  • Optimal or adequate vitamin D
  • Regular exercise

The above three factors are essential for maintaining of good bone health throughout our life. Hence, attention to these three factors are essential for prevention of osteoporosis.

Calcium intake:

On an average, adult individuals (18 to 50 years of age) need approximately 1,000 mg or milligram (one gram) of calcium daily. The requirement increases to 1200 mg for postmenopausal women (menopause occurs approximately at 50 years of age) and for men age over 70 years. Hence, it is important to take lot of foods that are rich in calcium content. Foods with good calcium content are:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Dark and green leafy vegetables
  • Soy products
  • Canned fish
  • Foods (such as cereals, orange juice etc.) fortified with calcium

For consuming adequate calcium intake for optimal bone-health consume these foods or take calcium supplementation (if you can not get adequate calcium from your diet), to prevent osteoporosis. Taking too much calcium can cause heart trouble and kidney stones, hence, it is recommended by experts that no more than 2000 mg of calcium should be taken daily from all sources (diet and supplements), especially if you are above 50 years of age.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium into your body from food or supplement. Hence, it is important to have adequate vitamin D. Human body can synthesize vitamin D from sunlight in the skin, if we are exposed to sun. Approximately 10-15 minutes exposure is required daily for adequate synthesis of vitamin D in the body. But this can not be relied completely, because excess exposure to sun may lead to skin cancer and other health conditions.

Good sources of vitamin D include liver, cod liver oil etc. Our daily requirement of vitamin D is approximately 400-800 international unit (IU), although the exact daily requirement is not clear. If you are not getting adequate vitamin D, it is advisable to take vitamin D supplement.

Regular exercise:

Regular exercise helps in making our bones strong and reduce bone loss. For best result and for better prevention of osteoporosis, starting exercise at young age and continuing it throughout life is important. However, if you start at later stage also, you can get benefits of exercise and prevent osteoporosis.

Your exercise regimen should include strength training and weight bearing for best result. Strength training exercise helps to strengthen bones (as well as muscles) in your arms and upper spine. Weight-bearing exercises (such as walking, jogging, running, stair climbing, skipping rope, skiing, impact sports etc.) strengthen bones and muscles in your legs, hips and lower spine.

If you are not getting optimal result with adequate calcium intake, vitamin V and exercise, you should consult your doctor and may start taking medications that prevent osteoporosis (as well as used for treating osteoporosis), such as bisphosphonates.

 

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