Osteoporosis is a bone disease. Its name comes from Latin for porous bones. The inside of a healthy bone has small spaces, like a honeycomb. Osteoporosis increases the size of these spaces, causing the bone to lose strength and density. In addition, the outside of the bone grows weaker and thinner.

Osteoporosis can occur in people of any age, but it's more common in older adults, especially women.

Osteoporosis Prevention

Prevention is better than cure holds good even for osteoporosis. The ideal way to prevent osteoporosis is to start working on your bones when they are still young.

  • Get adequate calcium, vitamin D and eat a well-balanced diet
  • Stay Active and engage in regular exercise.
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.
Plenty of Calcium

A diet that lacks in calcium during a lifetime remarkably increases the risk of developing osteoporosis and is linked with low bone mass, and broken bones. A diet rich in calcium is essential. Good source of calcium includes low-fat dairy products, cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, almonds, fortified cereals, breads, tofu, and fish with bones (sardines and salmons).

Pay Attention to Vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for the body as it helps to absorb calcium from the diet. Without adequate vitamin D, the body is unable to absorb calcium from the food we eat and the body takes calcium from the bones; making them fragile. Vitamin D is made available in skin through direct exposure to sunlight and from the diet. Good sources of vitamin D foods are fortified dairy products, egg yolks, and fish.

Exercise is important to prevent osteoporosis.

A great way to strengthen your bone and make them stronger is by exercising. Being physically active in your childhood and adolescence helps to build up bone density and strength. Children who exercise often reach a higher peak bone density (maximum strength and solidness), which typically occurs by 30 years of age.

The ideal exercise to prevent osteoporosis is weight-bearing exercise, that works against the gravity, and resistance exercise that use the muscle strength to build muscle mass and strengthen bones. These include walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, jumping rope, and dancing. Resistance exercise includes weight lifting using free weights and weight machine.

The benefits of exercise in older people are:

  • Increases muscle strength
  • Coordination
  • Stability
  • Improves overall health
Quit Smoking

Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis. Smokers have a higher risk of hip fractures and rheumatoid arthritis than non-smokers. Smoking also decreases calcium absorption from the diet.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Excess consumption of alcohol more than 2-3 ounces a day may damage the bones even in young men. Heavy drinkers are prone to have bone loss and fractures.

Therapeutic Medications

Presently bisphosphonates, such as alendronate(Fosamax), risedronate(Actonel), ibandronate(Boniva), and zoledronate(Reclast) are approved by the FDA for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in women. Alendronate and risedronate are approved to treat men and women with steroid-induced osteoporosis. Estrogen/hormone therapy (ET/HT) is also approved for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Start taking care of your bones, before it is too late.