Osteoporosis is often referred to as the "silent thief," since it robs you of bone mass without any symptoms. So it's important to know if you're at risk and to learn what you can do about it.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a medical condition characterized by low bone density and a deterioration of bone tissue. This disease can to lead to an increased chance of sustaining a bone fracture and is more common than you might think. In fact, according to Caltrate®, maker of calcium supplements, one out of every two women over 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture.
Are you at risk?
Several factors come into play when assessing your risk of developing osteoporosis, and they include the following:
- Gender. Although osteoporosis can strike both men and women, it's more likely to affect women.
- If you are a postmenopausal woman. At menopause, a woman's body produces less estrogen, which has a direct effect on bone health.
- Age. As you get older, your risk increases.
- A family history of the disease.
- Race. People of Caucasian or Asian descent are more likely to be affected by osteoporosis.
- Diet. You might be more susceptible to osteoporosis if your diet is calcium and vitamin D deficient.
- Leading an inactive lifestyle.
- Body type. A woman who is thin with a small body frame is more likely to be affected by this disease.
- If you are a smoker.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages in excess.
What you can do to reduce your risk
Although you are unable to change several factors, such as your age, gender and family history, it's important to recognize what factors you can control to keep your bones healthy and decrease your risk of developing this harmful condition.
- Boost your nutrition by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Include foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, and if necessary, take a supplement, such as Caltrate Plus®, to ensure you're getting the recommended daily amount.
- If you smoke, quit. While the relationship between tobacco use and osteoporosis isn't completely understood, smoking can reduce bone mass and weaken bones.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to a maximum of one or two drinks per day.
- Get active. While any type of exercise is good for you and your overall health, weight-bearing exercise is especially important when it comes to reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis. Walking, dancing, non-impact aerobics, jogging, running and hiking are all examples of exercises that will strengthen bones and can decrease your chance of developing this bone-thinning disease.
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