Eight tips for minimizing your risk of osteoporosis
Almost two million Canadian live with osteoporosis, the loss of bone density that can lead to fractures, disability and deformity. Almost 80 percent of fractures in people over 60 are related to osteoporosis.
“Heredity and bone size can affect the development of osteoporosis, but a healthy lifestyle can help prevent, delay or reduce bone loss,” says Dr. Christine Young, an orthopedic surgeon at The Scarborough Hospital.
Osteoporosis can strike at any age and often presents no symptoms. Building strong bones in childhood can help prevent significant bone loss later in life. The peak bone mass building years are from age 12 to 18.
November is Osteoporosis Month and Dr. Young offers eight tips to protect your bones.
- Eat well. Follow Canada’s Food Guide and include protein, healthy oil and dairy products in your diet.
- Get enough vitamin D. It helps absorb calcium and feeds your bones. Exposure to sunshine helps produce vitamin D.
- Be active. Using your bones makes them stronger. Regular, weight-bearing exercise, like walking, tennis or dancing, builds strong bones.
- Quit smoking.
- Try to minimize your risk of falling by doing neuromuscular (balance) exercises such as Tai Chi or use the BOSU ball at the gym.
- If you think you may be at risk of osteoporosis, speak to your doctor about testing your bone density.
- Some medications, alcohol and caffeine can reduce bone density.
- Breastfeeding without sufficient calcium/phosphate replacement can decrease bone mass.