Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis — weak bones — than men. This condition is often referred to as a “silent disease” as many women are unaware of the issue until they unexpectedly break a bone.
Preventing osteoporosis is a lifelong process. Here are some helpful tips for preventing osteoporosis and keeping your bones healthy and strong.
Know Your Risk Factors
The first step of prevention is awareness. It’s important to know your risk factors so you can make intentional changes.
Some risk factors are unavoidable, such as your race, age, body type, and family history. You may also be at increased risk if you are on certain medications where the necessity outweighs the risk (blood thinners, for example).
Other risks include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, hormonal disruptions, and nutrient deficiencies. These are the areas to focus on when making preventative changes.
Get Regular Check-ups
Being proactive with your health appointments will help you stay aware of any changes that could lead to the development of osteoporosis.
If you’re at high risk, start scheduling regular bone scans. You can search osteoporosis clinic near me to find a specialist who offers this service. It’s also essential to attend regular Well Woman appointments for an overall health check and blood work. Blood work will identify potential issues with your thyroid or hormone levels that could increase your risk factors.
Do Resistance Training
Exercise is an important part of preventing osteoporosis and benefiting your overall health. While cardiovascular movement, like dancing, running, walking, etc., is important, the value of resistance training can’t be overstated.
Weight-bearing exercises help offset aging-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) and promote lifelong bone density. Resistance training also helps improve balance, which could reduce the risk of damaging falls as you age.
Lifting weights is an incredible way for women to get healthy and offset the risk of age-related diseases. If you have previous injuries or you’re just starting with strength training, work with a personal trainer with specialized certifications that suit your needs.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of strength training: bodyweight exercises and resistance bands are also effective.
Prioritize Nutrients for Bone Health
The two main nutrient deficiencies that lead to osteoporosis are calcium and vitamin D. These are particularly concerning for people who have cut dairy from their diets or live in Northern regions.
Talk to your doctor about supplementing these nutrients or incorporating them into your diet naturally.
The best food sources of calcium are:
- Dairy products
- Leafy greens
The best food sources of vitamin D are:
- Egg yolk
You can also get juices and non-dairy milk alternatives fortified with extra vitamin D.
Reconsider Lifestyle Choices
Smoking and excessive alcohol use are tied to several chronic diseases. It should come as no surprise that another one is on the list.
Look into smoking cessation programs and consider making this life-altering change. Monitor your alcohol consumption and consider exploring the sober curious movement or reaching out for additional support.
Osteoporosis may seem like a far-off concern to deal with when you’re older. However, the risk increases with menopause. This seemingly innocuous disease could dramatically impact your golden years and alter the trajectory of your life. Be proactive, be healthy.