Maximize Your Bone Health

Woman Eating Cereal with MilkHere are some ways that you can help to keep your bones healthy:

Calcium and Vitamin D

Be sure your diet contains the necessary calcium and vitamin D during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to minimize bone loss. The typical American diet provides about 300 milligrams (mg.) of calcium a day from non-milk sources. Each dairy product serving provides an additional 300 mg. Pay close attention to the recommend intake for women over 50 to prevent menopausal bone loss.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the following daily calcium intake:

  • 11 - 24 years: 1,200 mg.
  • Pregnant or nursing women under age 19: 2,000 mg.
  • Pregnant or nursing women 19 or older: 1,400 mg.
  • Before menopause: 1,000 mg.
  • Menopausal, postmenopausal women not taking estrogen: 1,500 mg.
  • Menopausal, postmenopausal women taking estrogen: 1,000 mg.
  • Middle-aged men: 1,000 mg.

Vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption and its incorporation in bone. The Food and Drug Administration's USRDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for vitamin D is 400 international units (IU). One glass of milk contains 100 IU. Your doctor may recommend an increase in your intake of vitamin D after menopause. Because elderly people may consume less vitamin D and absorb calcium poorly, they should ask their doctor about increasing their daily intake of vitamin D.Swimming

 

Exercise

  • Exercise is crucial to minimize bone loss. You should engage in weight-bearing exercises, such as walking (considered one of the best methods of maintaining bone strength), jogging, hiking, climbing stairs, dancing, aquatic exercises, treadmill exercises and weight training. Exercise is also an excellent way to prevent menopausal bone loss. Consult your doctor before beginning any vigorous exercise program. Your doctor can evaluate your physical condition and help you decide which activity suits you best.
  • The National Institute of Aging recommends you begin exercising slowly, especially if you have been inactive. Start with short periods of about 5 to 10 minutes twice a week and build up slowly, adding a few minutes each week. You can build up to exercise periods of 15 to 30 minutes, three or four times a week.

 

Talk With Your DoctorPhysician Consultation

  • Proper diagnosis and early treatment can help reduce the risks of osteoporosis. Consult your medical doctor because a treatment must be prescribed individually.
  • Treatment plans should be initiated as early as possible because once bone is lost it is difficult to replace.
  • Ask your physician about medication to prevent menopausal bone loss such as estrogen replacement therapy, calcitonin or other medications currently under development.
  • Minimize bone loss by eliminating smoking and excessive alcohol use this will also decrease your risk for a fracture.
  • Consult with your physician if you require medications regularly that can alter your balance or cause dizziness. Certain drugs, such as benzodiazepines, that are common treatments for anxiety or insomnia, may cause dizziness and falls.

 

Start making the lifestyle changes today that lead to better bone health!