Understanding osteoporosis means understanding what the disease is, what its risk factors are, and what can be done to prevent it. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a decrease in bone density. This leads to fractures and other bone problems. One of the first things to do to prevent osteoporosis is determining if you are at risk for developing the disease.
Identifying Your Osteoporosis Risk Factors
There are several things that can determine the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. Being female, for example, is a common osteoporosis risk factor. Women, particularly Caucasians or Asians, are the people the most likely to get osteoporosis. Few males will develop the condition. If you are a woman, chalk up one risk factor in your count.
Osteoporosis often runs in families. If your mother or grandmother had osteoporosis, you are likely to develop the condition unless you modify your lifestyle. Along those lines poor nutrition is also an osteoporosis risk factor. Women who do not eat enough calcium and vitamin D are going to be at risk for bone loss.
Some people have a condition known as malabsorption. This condition causes them to not absorb nutrients properly from their digestive system. If you have this condition, it can cause you to not absorb the calcium you need correctly. This is also a risk factor for osteoporosis, and many patients with this condition are surprised because they have a healthy diet yet still develop osteoporosis.
Menopause and the lowered levels of estrogen that occur at this time in a woman’s life is another risk factor to consider. When you lose your menstrual cycle, whether when you are in menopause or when you are younger, you are also at higher risk for osteoporosis. If you are in menopause or have unexpectedly lost your period, you should talk to your doctor about osteoporosis testing.
Finally, if you have been immobilized because of a medical condition, such as a stroke, you are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis. If you have several of these risk factors already, even if you are young, you may want to schedule a bone density test and start following an osteoporosis diet. The test can determine if you have damage from bone loss, and the diet will help keep it from developing.
If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should consider some dietary changes that can help prevent the disease from developing. The earlier you start these dietary changes, the better. Following a good osteoporosis diet will help all areas of your health, particularly your bone density.
First make sure your diet is high in fruits and vegetables. As early as you can start implementing these foods into your diet, do so. There is a direct connection between high bone density and fruit consumption. The alkali buffers in fruits and vegetables help reverse the normal loss of calcium that your body undergoes.
Vitamin D is another important part of an osteoporosis diet. You can get vitamin D simply by spending some time in the sun. This essential vitamin helps your body absorb calcium better. Twenty minutes of sunshine each day will prevent a deficiency of vitamin D. If the sun is out of the question for you, then you need to eat foods with fish oils, such as fatty fish meat. Fortified foods, like fortified milk, also provide your body with vitamin D.
You can add calcium supplements into your diet to help prevent osteoporosis. Make sure that any multivitamin you take has calcium. You can also chew a couple of tablets of Tums antacids every day to help you get enough calcium.
Drinking milk or eating cheese and yogurt also provides your body with the calcium it needs to fight bone loss. Incorporate as much dairy into your day as your body can handle. This way you are giving it every chance it needs to absorb calcium.
While osteoporosis is not curable, you can help prevent the disease from progressing through a proper diet. If you have not yet been diagnosed with the disease yet have risk factors present, you can help prevent the disease from occurring at all through a good, healthy diet that is rich in calcium.