Osteoporosis is no longer considered a natural consequence of aging. There are many effective and simple ways to decrease your risk level:
- Weight bearing exercises, both walking and strength training activity, are excellent ways to keep bones strong and healthy. This does not have to be a costly endeavor, just tie on some walking shoes and go! Light hand-weights are inexpensive and easy to use.
- Watching your diet for the proper level of calcium intake is another simple way to dramatically alter your risk. There are dietary guidelines for calcium based on your age and gender. Remember though, it is always better to get as much of the required amount as possible through dietary choices rather than relying on supplements.
Prevention Through Diet
Dietary sources of calcium
It is best to get as much calcium from dietary sources as possible. Four servings of calcium-rich foods should be enough. Calcium can be found among foods in all of the food groups. Good sources include:
- ice cream
- turnip greens
- beet greens
Limit your intake of caffeine and soda pop and stop smoking. They affect your body's ability to absorb calcium. Limit alcoholic beverages to less than three drinks per day.
There are quite a few calcium supplements available at drug stores, supermarkets, and health food stores. These vary in quality, dosage, and price. Some are less able to provide calcium in a way that makes the body able to use it effectively for bone formation. Your body needs "elemental" calcium to accomplish this.
Be aware that not all supplements list mg. of elemental calcium. It is not recommended that you consume more than 1,000 mg/day from supplements alone. A significant portion should come from your diet. Talk to your physician before taking a calcium supplement.
With a few simple changes in your home, you can minimize the chances of a fall:
- remove all throw-rugs
- remove any loose wires and cords
- anchor area rugs, making sure edges lie smoothly
- keep floors free of clutter
- use skid-free shower mats in your bathroom
- install grab bars in your tub and shower
- make sure hallways and stairs are well lit
- leave some lights on at night
- keep a flashlight beside your bed
- avoid walking in socks or loose-fitting slippers
- clean up all spill in the kitchen or bathroom
- keep frequently used items within easy reach
- in winter, keep walks and outside stairs free of snow and ice
- wear shoes with tread for additional stability