Osteoporosis is a brittle-bone disease that affects women more than men. Osteoporosis can increase the risk of bone fractures in your later life if you don’t take care of it. Statistics have shown that 5 to 20 percent of women die each year because of osteoporosis related complications.
The reason why women have a higher risk of getting osteoporosis is that when they hit menopause, they do not get as much estrogen as before. Estrogen is needed to prevent bone loss and it works with calcium and other hormones and minerals to help build stronger bones.
Factors that contribute to the risk for osteoporosis for both women and men are gender, age, family history, hormone deficiencies, low calcium intake, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption.
Although osteoporosis has no actual cure, but you can slow down or reverse the bone loss to prevent fractures through some treatments and preventive measures.
The following tips have been proven effective:
Increase calcium intake – as we age, our body absorbs and uses calcium less efficiently. It is recommended to take 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day. For women, they should take measures to build stronger and healthier bones in their younger years instead of waiting after menopause due to the fact that they will have more bone mass to help them sustain when they age.
Although bone loss varies from person to person, however, a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D or by taking calcium supplement has been proven to slow down bone loss.
Foods high in or fortified with calcium included dairy foods, shellfish, green leafy vegetables, oysters, sardines with bones, brazil nuts, fortified tofu, almonds, orange juice, breakfast cereals, bread and soy milk.
Reduce caffeine intake – it is said that we need an extra 40 milligrams of calcium to offset the amount of calcium lost from drinking just one cup of coffee!
Drink alcohol in moderation – excessiveness in alcohol consumption will make you lose bone more rapidly and have much less bone mass.
Stop smoking – the more you smoke, the more you expose yourself to a higher risk of fracture. Smoking will also make women have lower estrogen to protect them from osteoporosis.
Weight-bearing exercise – some exercises such as walking, jogging, aerobic dancing, weight resistance training can help to put more weigh on your bones as well as to promote better bone health.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – this shall be done after due consultation with your doctor as the risks may outweigh the benefits.
Studies showed that postmenopausal woman if left completely untreated for osteoporosis stands to lose 10 to 40 percent of bone mass between the ages of fifty and sixty.
Tan Kok Hui
Nutrition Made Simple, Life Made Rich