Since May is National Osteoporosis Month, it’s the perfect time to pay more attention to your bone health. Here’s what you need to know in order to protect yourself.
What is osteoporosis? Over time, your body might experience difficulty maintaining strong bones. As they become more brittle, even a minor fall can result in a fractured or broken bone that requires much more time to heal.
Osteoporosis becomes more likely as you age. Technically, osteoporosis can happen to anyone, but it’s most common in those over 65.
Your personal risk factors. Many risk factors for osteoporosis are things over which you have no control. For example, women face a higher risk of developing the condition. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, your own personal risk might be higher. Even race is associated with increased odds of brittle bones; those of Caucausian or Asian descent are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
You can reduce your risk. Even though many risk factors are out of your control, you can take steps to promote better bone health.
For example, a diet high in calcium and vitamin D will help to ward off the disease. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt fit the bill. But you can also focus on eating more tofu, kale, collard greens, spinach, lentils, legumes, almonds, and chia seeds. You might also opt for supplementation (talk to your doctor or nutritionist).
Exercise also helps you to maintain strong bones. Aim for a combination of aerobic exercise and strength-training moves to build strong bones, muscles, and joints. Practicing proper posture and developing core strength can help to prevent falls, also.
Assessing your risk. Communicate with your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis. If you are at increased risk, or are diagnosed with the disease, you can still live a healthy and functional life. However, you should take steps to safeguard against falls and seek assistance with other daily tasks as needed.