Osteoporosis can happen at any age, but becomes more common past age 60. As you pass that milestone, it makes sense to recognize your own risk factors and learn methods to ward off the condition.
Risk factors for osteoporosis. Age-related deterioration of the bones tends to run in families, so we can generally assume we’re at greater risk if anyone else in the family has been diagnosed. Women are especially prone to osteoporosis, especially after menopause. Those of Caucasian or Asian descent are more likely to develop osteoporosis than other ethnic groups.
Reducing your odds of osteoporosis. Obviously, you can’t control your genetic risk factors. But luckily there are plenty of ways to reduce your odds of osteoporosis, even for those at higher risk.
Diet serves as one of the primary supports of healthy bones. Make sure you consume at least your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium and vitamin D every day. Foods that contain calcium:
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, and cheese)
- Collard greens
- Chia seeds
- Any other foods that are fortified with calcium, such as orange juice
Some foods, like dairy products, are fortified with vitamin D. Of course, exposure to sunlight is usually enough for most people. You can also take a multivitamin that includes vitamin D.
You can also prevent osteoporosis by exercising regularly. Weight-bearing exercises, like weight lifting, tai chi, yoga, and dancing, help to strengthen bones and joints. Plus, developing stronger muscles and better balance can help you to prevent falls and injuries. Do consult with a personal trainer about the types of exercise that are appropriate for your health and level of fitness, so that you don’t put yourself at increased risk of injury.
And of course, remember to discuss osteoporosis with your doctor at your next check-up. He or she can help you assess your current risk, and make more recommendations to keep your bones strong and healthy.