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Accidents happen, as we all know. But before they happen to you, take pains to protect your bones so that if you do take a fall, you might just bruise instead of break. As we grow older, many of us will develop weak bones. In fact, half of all women will develop osteoporosis or brittle bones that make them prone to fractures. Lifestyle changes in exercise and diet can lower the risk of osteoporosis and help you make your bones break-proof.
Strength and Balance
If you lower your chances of falling, you lower the risk of breaking something. Strong muscles and good balance are essential as we age and can help prevent falls. Weight-bearing exercise is important for maintaining bone mass and practices such as yoga and Pilates may also improve balance.
Menopause plays a role in depleting calcium in the system, resulting in bone loss for many women. Women who are postmenopausal should make a special effort to eat calcium rich foods such as milk, cottage cheese and yogurt. If you are lactose intolerant, a calcium supplement may be in order. Leafy green vegetables and some fish, such as sardines pack calcium punch. Check the labels on your orange juice and cereal, too. Many brands offer a version of their product that contains extra calcium.
Consult with your doctor about obtaining a bone scan. This test measures the mineral levels in your bones and can be used to track your bone density health. Get a base scan that can be used to compare against later tests. Your doctor will be able to detect loss of bone mass and can use the scan to diagnose osteoporosis.
This important vitamin is a key to strong bones as it partners with calcium and aids in calcium absorption. It can be found as a supplement in many dairy products. It also comes to you daily direct from the sun. However, most people have a Vitamin D deficit, particularly post-menopausal women. Try adding a little tuna or salmon to your diet or look for yogurt and milk products that are fortified with Vitamin D. You can also benefit from a daily 15-minute break out in the sunshine.
Check Your Meds
Ask your doctor about the impact that your prescription may have on your bone health. Many common medications, such as those prescribed for asthma, arthritis and depression, may actually contribute to making your bones more fragile. Ask your doctor whether there re alternative medications that won’t have the same negative impact on your bones.
Moderation is Key
If you have a heavy nicotine, caffeine or alcohol habit, you are putting your bones at a higher risk of breakage. Some research shows that drinking more than three cups of coffee a day, or four or more drinks nightly, can increase the risk of hip fracture. Nicotine in cigarettes is thought to attack the cells that create bone and also increases the possibility of breaking a bone. It’s never too late to change your smoking and drinking habits and improve your bone health.