Preventing Bone Loss
Building strong bones during childhood and the teen years is the best way to keep from getting osteoporosis later. As you get older, your bones don’t make new bone fast enough to keep up with the bone loss. And after menopause, bone loss happens more quickly. But there are steps you can take to slow natural bone loss associated with aging and to prevent your bones from becoming weak and brittle.
Get enough calcium
Bones contain a lot of calcium. It is important to get enough calcium in your diet. Getting calcium through nutrition is preferred, but your doctor may suggest supplementation with calcium pills. Yogurt, milk and spinach are excellent sources of calcium.
Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D plays many crucial roles in your body – including playing a key role in the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is produced in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight. You need 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight two to three times a week to make enough vitamin D. Unfortunately, during the winter months UV radiation from the sun is weak, and the season’s short days, and long nights can put Canadians at risk of not getting enough of this essential vitamin. For most Canadians, a vitamin D supplement is required during the winter months.
Eat a healthy diet
Other nutrients (like vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc, as well as protein) help build strong bones too. Milk has many of these nutrients. So do foods like lean meat, fish, green leafy vegetables, and oranges.
Discuss the effects of medications with your doctor
Your doctor may recommend medication for bone loss. However; it is also important to note that certain other medications can cause bone loss. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that may increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors.
People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts. Exercise helps
- Slowing bone loss
- Improving muscle strength
- Helps your balance (thereby preventing falls)
Research shows that smoking contributes to weak bones and lowers the amount of estrogen in your body. Estrogen is a hormone made by your body that can help slow bone loss.
Drink alcohol moderately
Regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Too much at alcohol at one time can also affect your balance and lead to falls.