Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You Can Prevent Osteoporosis

First of all you probably don’t think of your bones as living tissue, but that’s just what they are. Your bones are filled with “living cells”, some of which make new bone and some of which break down old bone. This process keeps your bones fresh and healthy, clearing out old or damaged cells to make room for new, healthier ones.

However, in some people, bones are broken down faster than they can be rebuilt. This (obviously) is a bad thing, leading to bones that are weak and thin. This condition is called osteoporosis and affects 10 million Americans, mostly women.

Thin bones are more likely to break or fracture which can lead to serious problems. A hip fracture, for example, can cause a person to need nursing home care and potentially disable them for life. Due to the proximity of the femoral artery, hip fractures can even be deadly, pretty serious stuff.

What You Can Do

There are things you can do to prevent osteoporosis. Our bodies build up our calcium stores until we are about 30 years old so it’s best if prevention begins early—during your childhood and teens. This is when you can most influence how strong your bones will be.

That said, it’s never too late to adopt habits that help YOUR bones now, even if your teen years are behind you. Here are some habits that every person should take up, no matter how old they are:

Get enough calcium lactate or calcium citrate and vitamin D. Calcium is one of the main things that make up bone and Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Foods like yogurt, salmon, and almonds are great sources of calcium. Direct sunlight is a great way to get Vitamin D (skip the tanning bed and kill 2 birds with one stone by following the next tip)

Exercise. Weight bearing exercise like walking, running, and lifting weights put stress on the bones, making them stronger.

DON‘T SMOKE. Smokers tend to lose bone faster than nonsmokers. In fact, smokers are 55% more likely than nonsmokers to break a hip.

Don’t drink too much alcohol. Heavy alcohol consumption can reduce bone strength by impairing your bodies ability to process vitamin D. You should be getting a good amount of vitamin D each and every day to prevent osteoporosis.
Be careful with your medications. Some medications like corticosteroids, anti-seizure medications, Cyclosporine A, and thyroid hormones can weaken bones.

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