- Strong bones are important at any age
- Osteoporosis can be prevented
- Assess your risk early
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a silent disease. It occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone or both.
Most people don’t know the condition of their bones, because we can’t see them! Around one in every three women, and one in every five men are at risk of osteoporotic fracture. Fractures most commonly occur in the wrist, spine or hips, but can also affect the arm or pelvis.
We start to lose bone density from the age of 35. This is a normal part of ageing, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fracture.
There are often no warning signs for osteoporosis, until you experience a fracture – usually after a very minor fall. Some people have even known to get a fracture from leaning across a table!
Having a bone density scan can assess your risk, and ensure you take all preventative measures possible to optimise your bone health. Exercise is very important, as is ensuring adequate dietary calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2 intake.
Tips to reduce osteoporosis risk, so you can live better for longer
Both men and women can use these simple tips from an early age to avoid your bone density degrading to a point where you pass through osteopenia and become a sufferer of osteoporosis.
You can maintain healthy bones by:
- Enjoying a healthy lifestyle with a nutrient rich diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables
- Taking a calcium supplements or ensuring good dietary intake of calcium rich foods as well as ensuring adequate vitamin D to ensure proper absorption of the calcium.
- Quit smoking
- Consume moderate amounts of alcohol
- Reduce and limit caffeine
- Be physically active. Physical activity is great for your bone density and muscle strength. Aim for at least 3 days per week – see a professional trainer if you are unsure how to achieve the best results.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet and a wide variety of foods to enrich your body with a good intake of calcium is vital for your bone density. If you have a lack of calcium in your bloodstream, your body steals calcium from your bones to function efficiently. The key to preserving our bone health is ensuring our dietary calcium intake is optimal, to prevent this from happening.
The Australian Nutrition guidelines recommend that people consume at least 1,000mg of calcium every day. If you’re postmenopausal or aged over 70, the Recommended Dietary intake is 1,300mg of calcium daily. Dairy has high levels of calcium, however there are plenty of other sources of calcium which include sardines and almonds, and sometimes the calcium from these sources is better absorbed. If you can’t get the appropriate amount of calcium in your daily diet, it is recommended you talk to a highly knowledgeable nutritionist, who will be able to help you.
Vitamin D and the Prevention of Osteoporosis
Vitamin D is very important for bone density growth and maintenance. It assists your body to absorb calcium from your daily diet. Vitamin D is produced in the body after exposure to the sun, and an average of 15 minutes of safe sun exposure helps your vitamin D production.
You can also get small amounts vitamin D from these other foods:
- Fatty fish including mackerel, salmon and herring
- Foods fortified with Vitamin D
Get moving! The role of exercise in preventing osteoporosis
Movement is very essential to the prevention of osteoporosis. Weight bearing physical activity, strength and resistance training exercise helps bone density and promotes steady balance. Reducing your risk of falls is also a preventative measure for osteoporosis.
Before starting any exercise program, please consult your healthcare professional, especially if you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle for many years, are over 70 years old or have any any pre-existing medical conditions. Osteoporosis prevention can be achieved with strength training to help maintain your bone mineral density. Be guided by a health or fitness trainer who specializes in complete body health.
Consider Improving your balance with exercises that include tai chi, yoga and pilates. Balance is integral to preventing falls.
30-40 minutes of exercise, 3-6 times per week is a great recommendation to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Take the Quiz!
Are you at risk of Osteoporosis?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions you could be at increased risk of fracture (and we suggest you follow up with a bone density scan)
- Are you a female over 40 years of age?
- Are you a male over 50 years of age?
- Do you have an Oestrogen deficiency as a result of menopause, especially early or surgically induced?
- Do you have a family history of osteoporosis or easily broken bones?
- Have you had prolonged absence of menstrual periods?
- Have you had eating disorders e.g. Anorexia nervosa?
- Have you had low lifetime calcium intake?
- Have you had prolonged use of cortisone based medications, diuretics, or medications, for epilepsy or thyroid conditions?
- Are you a male with low testosterone levels?
- Have you broken a bone as an adult due to minimal trauma?
- Do you have an inactive lifestyle?
- Are you or have you been a cigarette smoker?
- Are you an excessive user of alcohol?
There are many steps that can be taken to prevent and minimise the impact of osteoporosis. Book in for a Bone Density Scan now, and learn what steps you need to take to prevent future debilitating fractures due to osteoporosis.