Osteoporosis is when your bones become weak and brittle throughout your life. Fun fact: your body removes old bone cells and adds new bone to your skeleton. However, after the age of 30, more bone is lost than replaced. Osteoporosis is not inevitable as you age. You can build stronger bones and help prevent osteoporosis with just a few healthy habits.
4 Healthy Bone Tips
No matter what your age, these healthy habits are good for your bones:
1. How can I keep my bones strong and healthy?
Preventing osteoporosis should begin in childhood. However, no matter what your age, it’s never too late to take steps to strengthen your bones. The prescription for good bone health is simple:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D
- Avoid smoking and limit alcohol
2. How much calcium and vitamin D intake do I need?
Women under the age of 50 need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. After age 50, calcium needs increase to 1,200 milligrams daily. It’s also important to get about 600 IUs of vitamin D to ensure adequate calcium absorption.
3. What are the best exercises to prevent osteoporosis?
You can build and maintain bone density with exercises such as walking, jogging, hiking or skiing. Also, muscle-strengthening exercises are important too. Practice in strength and resistance training using free weights, exercise bands or even your own body weight. Be careful about exercises that might cause you to fall. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist before you start any new program.
Increase in Bone Fractures?
Back pain and stooped posture could be a symptom of osteoporosis. A bone mineral density test can diagnose this condition. Schedule an appointment with UVA’s orthopedic providers.
4. How do I know if I need a bone density test?
A bone density scan, or DEXA scan, can detect thinning bones at an early stage. The test is painless and safe, using only very low-energy radiation to determine your bone density. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women over age 65 get a bone density scan. If you’re under 65 with certain risk factors, you may also need to be tested. This includes:
- Women with a family history of osteoporosis
- Weigh under 127 pounds
- Current smokers
It’s best to discuss your need for a bone density test with your physician.
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