One in three women and one in five men over age 50 will experience osteopathic fractures. Is there anything you can do to prevent this, or is it inevitable? Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent developing osteoporosis, a disease that can weaken your bones to the point where they break easily.
At Southern Pain Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama, Kenneth Varley, MD, an expert in the field of interventional pain management, offers a variety of diagnostic testing and treatment for men and women with osteoporosis. In this blog, Dr. Varley lists five things you can do to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
1. Get plenty of exercise
From weight loss, to keeping your heart healthy, to keeping your blood pressure in check, exercise has many benefits. But, did you know that exercise can also help prevent osteoporosis? In fact, regular exercise can make your bones and muscles stronger and help prevent bone loss.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as dancing, walking, and playing tennis, can give you the exercise you need and let you have fun at the same time. Strength-training exercises, such as lifting weights, and exercises that help with balance, such as yoga, can also help you avoid falling and breaking a bone.
2. Get enough calcium and vitamin D
You’ve heard it since you were a kid: Calcium and vitamin D build strong bones. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet at every age so you can keep your bones strong. You can get calcium in a variety of foods, such as milk, salmon, sardines, kale, and broccoli. Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium from these foods, so it’s important to get enough vitamin D as well.
Vitamin D is easy to get, too. On average, just 20 minutes in the sun each day can help your body make enough vitamin D. You can also get this nutrient from a variety of foods, such as eggs, salmon, and milk.
3. Eat plenty of protein
Protein is in every cell in your body, which means your bones need it, too. Eating enough protein will increase your bone mineral density, which means your bones will stay strong. Good sources of lean protein include:
- Greek yogurt
By looking at the list above, you can see that even if you’re a vegetarian, there are plenty of ways to get enough protein in your diet to help prevent osteoporosis.
4. Limit alcohol and soda consumption
Consuming more than two alcoholic drinks each day is linked to increasing your chances of suffering bone loss. Alcohol consumption may also increase your risk of falling and breaking a bone when you’re unstable on your feet.
Some studies show that drinking soda can lead to bone loss as well. Theories suggest that the phosphorus in soda can prevent your body from absorbing calcium as it should. If you’re trying to prevent osteoporosis, you’re much better off drinking water or milk instead of soda and alcohol.
5. Avoid certain medications
Steroids, blood thinners, and thyroid medications are among the drugs that can contribute to bone loss, especially if you don’t take them as directed. If you have these medical conditions, Dr. Varley may be able to help you manage them through lifestyle changes so you don’t have to take medications that compromise your bone density.
Finally, especially if you’re a woman at risk of developing osteoporosis, quit smoking. Among all the other health benefits you’ll get if you stop smoking, you’ll also allow your body to make enough estrogen. Estrogen protects your bones, but when you smoke, it causes your body to produce less estrogen.
Overall, a healthy diet and active lifestyle can do wonders for preventing or slowing down the progression of osteoporosis. And, there are medications available that can help your body build new bone.
To learn more about preventing the development of osteoporosis or to get treatment if you have the condition, book an appointmentonline or over the phone with Southern Pain Specialists today.