As we discussed in Part 1 of our Osteoporosis series, the earlier you start thinking about how osteoporosis can affect you and what preventative measures you can take, the better!
Here’s a review of what we already discussed along with a few more risk factors that are helpful to know about:
- How much bone mass you’ve “banked” in your youth
- Early menopause
- Taking certain medications for a prolonged period (these include corticosteroid medications, glucocorticoids, some anti-seizure drugs; some medicines that treat endometriosis; and some cancer drugs)
- Your personal and family medical history
- A personal or family medical history of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- A personal or family medical history of Crohns Disease
- Inadequate diet
- Low body weight
- An inactive lifestyle
A number of risk factors are out of your hands, but there are some risk factors that you can take control of NOW. Truth be told taking steps towards an overall healthier lifestyle is a good idea for consideration whether you’re a low or high risk candidate for osteoporosis.
The top four essentials for keeping your bones healthy throughout your life are:
- Adequate Amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D
- Physically Active Lifestyle
- Health Conscious Choices
But what does that look like? Here’s a breakdown of what it means to take the preventative measures recommended for strong bones.
- Adequate Amounts of Calcium and Vitamin DVitamin D is essential to getting the calcium you need because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. In that way they go hand in hand. Calcium can be added to your diet via calcium rich foods or supplements (ideally both). Additionally a diet that is high in protein, vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy bones.
- Physically Active LifestyleMuscles are not the only part of your body that benefit from regular exercise. Exercise attributes to a better state of mind, higher energy levels and stronger bones too. An inactive lifestyle increases the risk of developing osteoporosis. This does not mean you need to go out and join an gym, while having a regular exercise routine is helpful for many you can simply do more activities you enjoy whether it by walking, biking or swimming.
- Health Conscious ChoicesWhen we’re young we think we’re going to live forever, right? Many say, “Smoking is bad, but I’m young… I’ll take my health seriously when I’m old”. That’s a BIG MISTAKE. Smoking presents many risks to the body, but since we’re concentrating on osteoporosis prevention we’ll focus on just one: smokers absorb less calcium which equals less of an ability to build bone mass and a higher loss of bone mass that is already there. Additional lifestyle choices that you should take into consideration are alcohol intake, salt intake and specific medications.
Glucocorticoid (GCs) is a type of steroid found in some medicines. These medicines, if taken for a prolonged period of time, can wear your bones down. Yes, we realize that some medications are not a choice, some are necessary. But look carefully at the ingredients of the medicines you take and if there is an alternative aim for that. If there is no alternative, talk with your doctor about what you can do to protect your bones while on these medications.
Prevention is always a good idea, but what does one do if they already have osteoporosis? Don’t worry it’s never too late to take care of yourself. Next week we’ll discuss steps you can take to put your best foot forward with your condition. We’ll fill you in on what you can do to make living with osteoporosis a challenge you can handle!