How to Treat and Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease that reduces the density and quality of the bones. It develops over time and can eventually become quite debilitating. But, there is good news, if you have osteoporosis, there are treatments to lessen bone loss and decrease the risks of the disease. The better news is, if you take a few easy precautions, the condition is preventable altogether. Keep reading for helpful tips for treating this condition if you have it, and preventing it if you do not.
Preventing osteoporosis is easy. The key is to make a few lifestyle changes that will not only help to prevent this condition, but ultimately will help your overall health as well. To get you going on the path the healthy bones, try some of these ideas:
- Alter your diet
Preventing osteoporosis is all about strengthening your bones, which starts with the foods you feed your body. Increasing your lean protein intake is a great place to start. Also, add foods that are rich in vitamin D and calcium as well.
It is no secret that calcium is a key nutrient in healthy bones. Adults should aim to get about 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Postmenopausal women should increase it to 1,200 mg daily. It is best to get your calcium from food sources, such as dairy. If you cannot get enough calcium through the food you eat, taking supplements can help make up the difference. Be careful not to exceed 2,000 mg of calcium daily.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D works hand in hand with calcium. Older men and postmenopausal women should aim for 800 mg daily. Drink milk that contains this important vitamin or take supplements. You can also get vitamin D through exposure to natural sunlight. Just a few minutes daily can help increase your level of vitamin D without greatly increasing your risk of skin cancer.
Exercise has many benefits, and increasing bone mass is one of them. Engaging in light exercise for 30 minutes three times a week is all it takes to keep your bones healthy.
- Quit smoking
There are many reasons to quit smoking. Improving your bone health is high on the list. Cigarettes can speed bone loss, so, the earlier you stop, the sooner your bones can start getting stronger.
If you already have osteoporosis, follow some of these steps to help manage and treat it.
There are many medications available that help treat the symptoms of osteoporosis. Medications are great for people who already have bone density loss and are already at high risk for bone fracture.
- Add calcium and vitamin D to your diet
These nutrients are just as good at treating osteoporosis as they are for preventing it. So, even if you were not able to prevent the condition, increase your intake of them either through diet or supplementation.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine can have an adverse effect on your bones. Since your bone health is already compromised with osteoporosis, it is best to use alcohol and caffeine in moderation or avoid them altogether. Reducing alcohol consumption also helps reduce the chance of falling, which can be hazardous to those with osteoporosis.
- Exercise and quit smoking
The benefits of exercise and liabilities of smoking will both continue even though osteoporosis has set in. So, ditch the cigarettes and ramp up your exercise regime.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy is often a good idea for postmenopausal women. Estrogen is known to help strengthen bones and prevent fractures. It can be prescribed on its one or with progestin. There are potential risks with HRT, so doctors tend to not prescribe it just for osteoporosis.