Tips to Fight Osteoporosis
Having strong healthy bones is important during menopause and beyond so that we can age with grace and strength. Stronger bones will let you continue to do many of the activities you enjoy and maintain your independence without fearing bone breaks or fractures.
Make sure you get enough calcium in your diet every day. Daily recommendations are 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium for men and women under 65; 1500 mg for men and women beyond 65. Great sources of calcium include milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, soy, tofu, sardines, canned salmon (keep the bones), almonds, kale, broccoli, spinach, white beans, navy beans, and calcium fortified orange juice.
You may wish to include a supplement to ensure you are getting your adequate amounts of calcium but beware of overdoing it. Too much calcium can lead to constipation and kidney stones. Aim for the daily recommendations and try to get as much from natural food sources as possible, depending on your needs and dietary restrictions.
Vitamin D intake
Vitamin D is very important because it helps the bones absorb all that calcium more efficiently. Most people need 400 International Units (IU) every day; those over 70 should take 500 IU. A few minutes of sunshine every day is great, but for those who live in more northerly zones, look to your diet for the best sources. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk, fortified orange juice, sardines, tuna, salmon (other than canned), egg yolks, and fortified margarine. You can include a supplement if you are unable to get enough from your diet but again avoid taking too much.
Exercise is key
Weight bearing exercises will put increased stress on your bones, forcing them to strengthen and use up all that calcium. Walking, running, hiking, dancing, and stair climbing are great choices. Add a couple of one pound weights to your routine to keep your arms in good shape. Swimming and cycling don’t provide the same weight bearing benefits but they are great cardio workouts to help keep you in shape. Tai Chi and yoga will give you extra flexibility and mobility.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Increased estrogen can help women, and testosterone replacement can benefit men. But as there are several side effects including breast cancer, heart attack and stroke, talk to your doctor to see if HRT is right for you or if there are other alternatives.
Alternative therapies to discuss with your doctor
Calcitonin (Calcimar) is an option for those who cannot tolerate estrogen replacement therapy. It works to decrease the breakdown of bone cells and has been found to decrease further bone loss in patients.
Bisphosphonates (Fosamax) have been found to slow down bone loss and reduce the effects of osteoporosis.
Selective Estrogen Receptive Modulators (Raloxifene, Evista) are used to select the right ‘type’ of estrogen in the bones and encourage it to work with bone cells to slow down bone loss.
Other tips to fight osteoporosis
Stop smoking and limit your alcoholic drink intake to no more than two drinks per day. Avoid falls in your home by taping down any loose rugs or mats. Decrease your consumption of caffeine, sugar, salt, and soft drinks.
This list of tips to fight osteoporosis is a good staring point to see where you can make changes in your routine. Always talk to your healthcare professional before taking any supplements or staring a new exercise regimen to see what is right for you. Take up the fight against brittle bones and prevent osteoporosis from taking over your life.
Menopause, Your Doctor, and You
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