Although osteoporosis is widely thought of as a ‘woman’s affliction,’ it is by no means exclusive to the fair sex. While on balance women suffer from osteoporosis three times more often than men, once a man reaches middle age, his odds of catching it increase. I have written about osteoporosis a number of times from various angles. If you are interested, you can click on any of the links at the end of this post to read further.
Harvard HEALTHbeat offers some worthwhile insights on it in the most recent issue.
“The best prevention for bone-thinning osteoporosis begins early — during the first two decades of life, when you can most influence your peak bone mass by getting enough calcium and vitamin D and doing bone-strengthening exercise. If you are over age 20, there’s no need to be discouraged. It’s never too late to adopt bone-preserving habits.
“If you are a man younger than 65 or a pre-menopausal woman, these five strategies can help you shore up bone strength as a hedge against developing osteoporosis.”
1. Monitor your diet. Get enough calcium and vitamin D, ideally through the foods you eat. Although dairy products may be the richest sources of calcium, a growing number of foods, such as orange juice, are calcium-fortified. Fruits, vegetables, and grains provide other minerals crucial to bone health, such as magnesium and phosphorus.
2. Maintain a reasonable weight. This is particularly important for women. Menstrual periods often stop in women who are underweight — due to a poor diet or excessive exercise — and that usually means that estrogen levels are too low to support bone growth.
3. Don’t smoke, and limit alcohol intake. Smoking and too much alcohol both decrease bone mass.
4.Make sure your workouts include weight-bearing exercises. Regular weight-bearing exercise like walking, dancing, or step aerobics can protect your bones. Also include strength training as part of your exercise routine.
5.Talk with your doctor about your risk factors. Certain medical conditions (like celiac disease) and some medications (steroids and others) can increase the chances that you will develop osteoporosis. It’s important to talk with your doctor to develop a prevention strategy that accounts for these factors.”
They offer a link to their booklet on diagnosing and treating osteoporosis and developing an effective plan for your bones: Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment.
Here are the links for my previous posts on osteoporosis:
Practice Training for Bones as Well as Muscles