Nearly nine million US adults suffer from osteoporosis, while more than 48 million have low bone mass - placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones.
Which can you do to lower your risk? You can protect your bones by trying a new bone healthy recipe or adding a new exercise to your regular routine.
The first and most important thing is to be aware of the factors that increase your risk for osteoporosis, which include but are not limited to:
- Gender - women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
- Age - the older you are, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
- Race - you're at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you're white or of Asian descent.
- Family history - having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
- Frame size - people with small body frames are at higher risk because they have less bone mass to draw from as they grow older.
- Hormone levels - osteoporosis is more common in people who have too much or too little of certain hormones. For example, reduction of estrogen levels at menopause is one of the strongest risk factors for osteoporosis. Similarly, men experience a reduction in testosterone as they age, which weakens bone.
- Thyroid problems - if your thyroid is overactive or if you take thyroid hormone medication, you may experience bone loss.
- Dietary factors - osteoporosis is more likely to occur with low calcium intake, which contributes to reduced bone density, bone loss and a greater risk of fractures. So always make sure you consume enough calcium, vitamin D, lean protein, fruits and veggies and healthy fats in your diet to keep your bones strong and healthy.
- Eating disorders - people with anorexia are at higher risk.
- Gastrointestinal surgery - reduction in stomach size or a bypass or removal of part of the intestine limits the amount of surface area available to absorb nutrients, including calcium.
- Sedentary lifestyle - lack of sufficient movement and exercise raises risk, while any weight-bearing exercise is beneficial, such as walking, running, jumping, dancing and weightlifting. Health experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes or more 5 days every week for overall health and lowered risk for many diseases, including osteoporosis.
- Excessive alcohol consumption - regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks a day raises osteoporosis risk, likely because alcohol interferes with calcium absorption.
If you have any further questions about your risk for osteoporosis, consult your physician or healthcare giver - in the meantime, you can work on reducing your risk by altering your lifestyle habits as described above.
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