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Top Tips For Bone Health For Women
It’s a natural part of life for bones to begin to lose their density and become thinner with age. As this happens, the risk of injury rises as does the expected recovery time following an injury. Osteopenia, bone thinning, commonly occurs in women during their senior years. However, there are some preventative measures you can take to stay healthier longer and lower your risk of injury.
One of the most important things you should do is eat foods that are rich in calcium, which will help combat bone thinning. Think beyond dairy products too. Salmon and sardines contain calcium, as do leafy green veggies such as broccoli. If you don’t consume dairy products at all, calcium fortified soymilk, orange juice and tofu make excellent choices.
Another great way to help strengthen your bones is through strength training. Working out with barbells, dancing, tennis, running, jogging and stair climbing are all great for building bone strength. If you’re already worried about weak bones and need a more low-key form of strength training, then try walking or low-impact aerobics. People who aren’t physically active have a higher risk of osteoporosis.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to have a bone mineral density test so that your doctor can determine your risk of fracture and osteoporosis. The test, called DEXA, is a painless x-ray of your bones. Women approaching menopause should have a DEXA test to access bone density but you may choose to have one earlier if there are other factors that raise your risk of osteoporosis.
You should also be aware that tobacco has been linked to loss of bone mineral density. Studies have shown that people who smoke regularly have lower bone density when compared to non-smokers. Likewise, too much alcohol can prevent your body from absorbing nutrients which can lead to poorer bone health. Two or more alcoholic beverages a day can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Be sure to always get enough vitamin D in your diet. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium contributing to healthier bones. Vitamin D can come from the sun, but even regular time in the sun isn’t going to provide enough. Taking a vitamin D supplement daily is the best way to ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin D to give yourself stronger, thicker bones. The recommended dose for adults ages 19-70 is 600 IUs per day. Good food sources of vitamin D include fortified milk and fish high in oils such as sardines and tuna.
Being either too overweight or too underweight can also affect your overall bone health. Recent studies have shown that visceral fat (deep belly fat and fat around your organs) and lower bone mineral density are linked. In addition, being underweight increases your risk of fracture and bone loss as well. Therefore, it is best to maintain a healthy weight in order to avoid increasing your risk of bone loss.
Women who are post-menopausal, over the age of 65, have relatives with bone density loss or who have suffered a broken bone after the age of 50 are all at a greater risk for fractures. So too are women with certain medical conditions such as arthritis or hyperthyroidism. Speak with your doctor early on about your risks for developing low bone density. You may also want to discuss how certain medications might contribute to your bone health and if taking medication for bone health is the right choice for you.
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