Osteoporosis is a condition that can strike you without warning. It can silently sneak up on you throughout the years, and you may not know until later in the disease when simply picking up the vacuum cleaner causes your bones to fracture.
Osteoporosis means “porous bones,” and it is a serious and painful disease that causes your bones to thin and become weak and brittle over time. There are little to no symptoms early in the disease, which is why it’s so important as you get older to really make sure you are caring for your bones and body. Symptoms begin presenting themselves later in the disease in the form of bone pain and tenderness, lower back pain or neck pain, fractures with little impact, a stooped posture, and a loss in height.
There are many factors that come into play when it comes to your risk of getting osteoporosis. The disease affects women twice as much as it affects men and it tends to affect Caucasian and Southeast Asian women more than any other race. Obviously the older you get or if osteoporosis is in your family will also increase your risks of getting the disease. Even bad habits like smoking and caffeinated soda consumption has been linked as causes as well.
All of this might seem like a grim diagnosis, but it’s never too late to begin fighting this disease. The first step in the fight against osteoporosis is prevention, and one of the easiest things you can to do is to make sure you get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D. Why Vitamin D? Because your bones can’t absorb calcium without it! The Mayo Clinic suggests you get at least 1,000 mg of calcium a day and 800 IU of Vitamin D a day.
Also, it’s time to kick any bad habits you might have. Smoking and excess alcohol consumption can wear done your bones eventually. Also, cut back on the caffeine as studies have shown too much caffeine has a negative effect on your bones as well.
Adjust your diet. Eat dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Drink low fat milk and eat low fat cheeses and yogurts. Any kind of canned fish like salmon and sardines will also help. Also add soy into your diet. The estrogens found in soy have been shown to help maintain bone density.
And finally, exercise! Building up strong bones starts with a healthy exercise routine. The best exercise for your bones will combine aerobics such as jogging with a weight lifting routine.
Osteoporosis is a difficult disease to live with, but by working on strengthening your bones now, you can help avoid having to ever deal with this painful disease.
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