Osteoporosis is a condition of brittle and fragile bones that is caused by the loss of bone mass. It is frequently associated with hormonal changes or calcium deficiency, and can affect people of any age. Osteoporosis is much more common among women than men.
From birth to the age of about 35, your bones are increasing in size and density. After 35, your bones very slowly lose density. Most women (about 80%) are not adversely affected by this, even with the decrease in estrogen that occurs during and after menopause. For the remaining 20%, however, the decrease in estrogen during the menopause stage results in a more pronounced loss of bone, and the gradual development of osteoporosis. There are a number of ways to help combat osteoporosis.
How You Can Help Combat Osteoporosis:
Exercise develops and maintains your skeleton. The older we get, the less active we tend to be. This inactivity actually furthers the process of bone loss and gives new meaning to the phrase, “use it or lose it.” Thirty minutes of weight-bearing exercise several times a week (such as walking, running, or rollerblading) is recommended. Choose the exercise that best suits you. Studies have shown that by being physically active you may actually get back some of the bone you have lost.
Calcium is recommended for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. According to the National Institute of Health, adults between the ages of 25 to 65 should consume 1000 mg of calcium per day. Youths (ages 11 to 24) and seniors (over 65) should consume 1200 to 1500 mg per day. There are many calcium rich foods, particularly dairy products. For example, one cup of low fat yogurt contains approximately 400 mg of calcium.
Pop and Calcium
A word of caution to those children and adults who love pop. Soda pop contains phosphate, and phosphate robs the body of calcium. Try to avoid drinking excessive amounts of pop. This is especially important for children, who are at an age when they need increased calcium for bone development.
Consult Your Health Care Provider
If you are concerned about osteoporosis and your own health, consult your health care provider.