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Preventing and Treating Osteoporosis: Healthy to the Bone
• Bone mass begins to decline at around age 30.
• 28 million Americans are affected — 80 percent of them women.
• Bone is a dynamic living tissue.
• The typical American diet offers only about 500 to 700 milligrams of calcium daily.
The Good News
Regular weight-bearing exercise combined with adequate sunlight (vitamin D) and a proper diet that includes adequate zinc, vitamin K, potassium, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C, can considerably decrease your risk factors for developing osteoporosis.
Post-menopausal women showed a 5.2 percent increase in bone density after only 9 months of weight-bearing exercise done for 50 minutes three times per week.
Hormone balance is another very important part of a preventive strategy. During perimenopause, estrogen levels can begin to decrease (they can also increase). Estrogen has been shown to slow bone loss — which is one of the reasons for giving hormone replacement therapy.
Recent studies have shown that soy isoflavones may also have a protective effect on bone. Ipriflavone is another dietary supplement that has a lot of research to support its use in osteoporosis treatment and prevention.
Lifestyle Changes that Can Reduce Your Risk
- Limit factors that promote calcium excretion: too much protein, sugar, salt, and soda pop.
- Don't smoke (it causes a negative calcium balance). Too much caffeine and alcohol can also lead to a negative calcium balance, which then may lead to bone loss.
- Exercise regularly. It's never too late to start. Workouts can include walking, running, yoga, weight lifting/weight training. If the idea of weight training doesn't sound like your thing, try starting with 3, 5 and 8 pound dumbbells; light weights will tone your muscles without causing them to "bulk up."
- Have a baseline bone scan starting at around age 40.
Consult your healthcare professional before trying any health treatment or program.