What You Need To Know About Osteoporosis

What You Need To Know About Osteoporosis

It’s so important that you know how to protect your bones for the sake of your long-term health.

Osteoporosis is a disease that makes our bones so porous that, viewed under a microscope, they appear riddled with holes, like honeycomb. Osteoporosis can cause our skeleton to become so brittle and fragile, we can break a bone from a simple fall, or even – in extreme cases – from a vigorous sneeze. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from this brutal bone disease…

What causes osteoporosis?

The leading cause of osteoporosis is hormonal changes – primarily when estrogen levels dip as a result of the menopause. Though it takes years, the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures increases with age as we gradually lose more bone tissue than our bodies replace.

How common is osteoporosis?

According to the latest research, one in two of us will break a bone due to osteoporosis. The clavicle, also known as the collarbone, which links your arm to the rest of your body, is the one most likely to take the hit.

How to reduce your risk of osteoporosis

But fret not – there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. Calcium is the vitamin we associate with building strong bones, but you might not realize your heart, muscles and nerves need calcium, too. And they take it from the supply stored in your skeleton, so it pays to up your calcium intake. Doctors recommend women over 50 should aim to get over 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. Dairy products are notoriously rich in calcium, but did you know leafy greens like kale and broccoli, along with pulses like black beans and kidney beans, are high in calcium as well?

The vitamin to help strengthen your bones

Vitamin D is as important as calcium for strengthening your bones, because your body needs it to absorb the calcium. We get vitamin D from sunlight, which can be tricky during the gloomy winter months. Of course, you could book a three-month Caribbean cruise, but taking a supplement is a far less expensive fix.

Tailor-made supplements will deliver the calcium and vitamin D your body needs, plus vitamin K2, which activates a vital protein in bone cells called osteocalcin. Together, these three powerhouses may assist in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Exercise for strong bones

Exercise has been proven to protect those at risk of osteoporosis from breaking a bone, as it not only strengthens muscles (that means you’re less likely to fall over); it also boosts that all-important bone density. Weight-bearing exercise like dancing, walking and tennis are your best bets. Happily, these activities are ideal for doing with friends, and totally justify a nice drink at the end. But not so much you fall over, of course.

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