Preventing Osteoporosis

Preventing osteoporosis involves such things as consuming your daily recommended amounts of vitamin D and calcium, engaging in regular weight-bearing exercise, talking to your healthcare provider about bone health, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol drinking, and when appropriate, have a bone density test and take medication. 

Changing your lifestyle

You may not be able to change your height or the natural color of your hair, but you can change behavior that increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. 

Smoking and osteoporosis 
Smoking isn't just bad for your lungs, it's also bad for your bones. 

Some studies have shown the following to be true... 

  • Smoking decreases the levels of estrogen in women.

  • Women who smoke go through menopause at an earlier age. Also, estrogen levels drop during menopause.

  • Smokers may absorb calcium poorly. Calcium absorption is important for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.

  • Bone fractures heal more slowly in people that smoke.

  • Up to one in eight hip fractures in women is related to decrease bone density due to smoking.

  • By the time a smoker reaches 80 years old, bone density is 6 to 10 percent lower than nonsmokers.

  • Estrogen replacement therapy for menopause is less likely to be effective in smokers than nonsmokers.

One of the best preventive measures you can take for osteoporosis prevention is to never start smoking. 

Preventing Osteoporosis

Alcohol and Preventing Osteoporosis

Most studies show that moderate alcohol can be good for your bones, while heavy alcohol consumption is bad. 

How much is too much? 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines "moderate" as one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men. 

A drink is about 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. 

Drinking is thought to increase bone density because alcohol can convert testosterone to estrogen after menopause. Also, alcohol may increase calcitonin, a hormone that inhibits bone resorption in menopausal women. 

Alcohol can have many negative effects on your body... 

  • Alcohol can cause vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to decreased calcium absorption.

  • Alcohol can increase magnesium excretion, which also decreases bone health.

  • Alcohol can increase levels of PTH, which results in a strain on your body's calcium reserves.

  • Heavy alcohol consumption leads to high levels of cortisol, which causes decreased bone formation and impairs calcium absorption by increasing PTH.

  • Alcohol suppresses bone formation by its toxic effect on osteoblasts.

Watch what you eat

Women older than 50 need at least 1,500 mg of calcium a day. 

It's important to make sure you're not losing calcium. High protein consumption can increase the amount of calcium excreted in your urine. 

Fruit and vegetables increase your potassium and magnesium intake, which builds more calcium stores and helps in preventing osteoporosis. If you consume high amounts of protein, be sure to eat enough vegetables to balance to maintain your calcium. 

Too much salt can result in extra calcium loss. 

Some studies indicate that drinking soda pop daily may result in lower bone density. Sodas that contain caffeine may also increase urine output, which can wash away minerals. 

› Preventing Osteoporosis

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