Your bones are under constant construction, with new bone cells replacing old bone cells throughout your life. However, as you get older, the rate of bone rebuilding slows down. At some point, removal of old bone cells may outpace the placement of new bone cells, putting you at risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis means porous bones and is a disease in which your bones are weak and at greater risk of fractures. Unfortunately, loss of bone mass is part of the aging process. However, osteoporosis isn’t.
At Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, in Grand Island and Hastings, Nebraska, our health experts take a proactive approach to women’s health. Because osteoporosis affects more women than men — 8 million women versus 2 million men in the United States — we’re using this blog post to share some tips on what you can do to prevent it.
A balanced diet contains a wide variety of foods from all food groups. It’s the best way to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs for good health. Eating a balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is good for your bones.
When you eat a variety of foods, you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to build strong bones, including calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your bones, and vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium to build bones.
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of calcium. You can also get calcium from leafy greens (spinach and kale), almonds, and fortified juices.
Fortified milk, egg yolks, and fatty fish like salmon are good sources of vitamin D. Your body also makes vitamin D through sun exposure.
If you’re not meeting your daily calcium and vitamin D needs, we may recommend you take nutritional supplements. Ideally, you should get 1,000-1,200 milligrams of calcium and 600-800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day.
Though readily available and safe for most people, you should discuss nutritional supplements with your health care provider before adding them to your daily regimen.
Weight-bearing exercises are workouts in which your body moves against gravity like walking, dancing, and playing tennis. These exercises place extra stress on your bones, helping them maintain strength. Swimming and bike riding are nonweight-bearing exercises.
Strength training is also good for your bones — activities like pushups, squats, and weightlifting. These exercises cause muscle to pull on your bones, stressing and strengthening them.
People who smoke cigarettes have lower bone density and are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis. Quitting smoking is good for your bones and your overall health. You don’t need to do it all on your own, however. Our primary care providers can talk to you about your smoking cessation options and refer you to our counseling services for support.
Most people reach peak bone mass between ages 25 and 30. But no matter what stage of your life you’re in, it’s always a good time to start taking steps to improve bone health.
Are you concerned about osteoporosis? Do you think you need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements? Call the Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, office nearest you today or request an appointment online so we can provide the answers you need.