According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 44 million Americans have the decreased bones density and strength that is the hallmark osteoporosis. In fact, it is projected that by 2020 that half of Americans over the age of 50 will have osteoporosis. This statistic has alarmed health experts since people with this bones disease are more prone to compression fractures in the spine and hip fractures due to falls. Many adults have their independence significant curtailed as the result of the bone damaged that results from osteoporosis. What are the risk factors for developing osteoporosis and what can you do to improve your bone health?
The Risk Factors Associated with Osteoporosis
While most people think of osteoporosis as a condition that affects post-menopausal women, men over the age of 50 are also susceptible to losing bone density as their levels of testosterone decrease as they age.
Additionally, while people who are over the age of 50 are the most likely demographic to develop osteoporosis, younger adults can also develop this disease. Since bones loss occurs slowly as you age, it is never too soon to start paying attention to bone health.
Some of the signs that you might be at risk of developing osteoporosis include the following:
Long-term confinement to bed
Family members diagnosed with osteoporosis
Small frame and stature
Low body weight
Excessive consumption of alcohol
How to Decrease Your Risk of Osteoporosis
While osteoporosis can be devastating, you can significantly reduce your risk of losing bone density with exercise and proper nutrition. Since it takes time for bones to regain density and mass once loss has started, it is never too soon to pay attention to your bone health. Additionally, if you have been told that you are starting to develop osteoporosis, it is possible to rebuild the strength of your bones.
Some of the exercises that can improve the strength of your bones include the following:
Weight bearing exercise such as jogging, walking, and aerobics
Lifting weights by using either free weights or weight machines
Exercise regimes that focus on balance by including yoga or tai chi
You can also reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis with proper nutrition. Review your diet to make sure you are getting enough calcium (1000-1200 mg per day) and vitamin D (400-800 IU per day. Some of the foods to eat that are rich in these nutrients include dairy products and fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. If you are concerned that you are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, make sure to take supplements to protect the health of your bones.