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    Strategies for preventing osteoporosis

      |  Oct 23, 2023

    Bones, like any part of your body, experience cell breakdown and regeneration throughout your life. The body’s ability to do so creates bone mass, which prevents bones from breaking from everyday accidents like trips and falls. As you age, your body begins to lose more bone mass than it builds, and by the age of 70, the average person has lost 30 to 40% of their bone mass. While this process is par for the course with aging, an excess loss of bone mass is called osteoporosis. This condition affects millions of people worldwide, leading to an increased risk of fractures and eventual physical disability in older adults.

    Osteoporosis is more common in women than it is in men, as the hormone estrogen is a key factor in bone growth. A woman’s estrogen levels drop significantly during menopause, and they subsequently lose bone mass. However, osteoporosis affects men too. Osteoporosis is not unavoidable, though. By implementing a combination of lifestyle choices and proactive measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing this debilitating condition. In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies to prevent osteoporosis and ensure long-term bone health.

    1. Maintain a Well Balanced Diet

    A balanced diet plays a crucial role in maintaining strong and healthy bones. Focus on consuming foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. Calcium is a primary building block of bones, and sources such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods can help meet your daily requirements. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption, so include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy or plant-based alternatives in your diet. Additionally, magnesium, vitamin K, and protein are vital for bone health and can be obtained from nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean meats, and legumes.

    2. Add Supplements to Your Diet

    Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium into your bones, but 25% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. This could be caused by a variety of factors, from living in an area with limited sunlight or even wearing sunscreen on a daily basis. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, fatigue, and even depression. To give your body the vitamin D it needs to maintain bone health, add a daily supplement to your routine or explore getting regular vitamin D injections. Alongside vitamin D, supplements for calcium, magnesium, and protein are also widely available.

    3. Engage in Regular Exercise

    It might seem counterintuitive, but putting stress on your bones through exercise actually helps them grow stronger. The stress signals to the bone to create extra calcium deposits, leading to the formation of bone mass. But a brisk walk around the block isn’t enough to prevent osteoporosis. An exercise program that improves bone health will focus on working with all major muscle groups, with an emphasis on high-impact aerobic activities and weight training. Aim for 75 minutes of high intensity exercise or 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.

    Balance exercises like Tai Chi or lunges can also reduce the risk of falls that cause bone fractures in adults with lower bone mass. 

    4. Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption

    Smoking has various harmful impacts on the formation of healthy bone cells, and has been linked to increased bone loss and fracture risk. Not only does smoking break down estrogen, a hormone essential for bone growth, it also reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium and  slows the production of bone-producing cells. Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption can hinder your body's ability to absorb calcium and affect hormone levels essential for bone health

    5. Regular Bone Density Testing and Medical Check-ups

    Routine bone density testing, especially for individuals at higher risk or post-menopausal women, can help identify early signs of bone loss. Modern Age’s Aging Wellness Assessment includes a bone density scan for patients of all ages. If results show an increased risk for osteoporosis, you’ll work 1:1 with a licensed clinician to create a customized plan to maintain bone density.