Many things in your body start to break down as you get older. Your bones are one of them. Starting at age 40, you slowly begin to lose bone mass. And because women start off with less dense bones than men, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis as their bone mass begins to diminish. In fact, half of all women and a quarter of all men will fracture a bone in their lifetime because of osteoporosis.
The good news: You can beat the odds. The experts at Park Avenue Women’s Center put together this list of eight tips to help you maintain bone strength.
Most men and women in their 20s and 30s don’t think about bone health (or heart health or brain health). And, why should they? Most people reach their peak bone health between ages 25 and 30.
But the stronger your bones are at their peak, the longer they’ll remain strong as you get older. The earlier you start following the advice listed here, including eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, the less likely you’ll be to develop osteoporosis and related fractures later in life. And it’s never too late to start.
Smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol are bad for your bones and your overall health. Smokers and heavy drinkers have lower bone mass and a higher risk of fractures than non-smokers and moderate drinkers. Heavy drinkers also have a higher risk of falls than non-drinkers.
Supplying your bones with the vitamins and nutrients they need is essential to maintaining bone health. Get plenty of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus in the foods you eat and the beverages you drink. Look for calcium-fortified products to help you give the calcium boost your bones need.
Ideally, you should get the vitamins and minerals you need from food, but if not, supplements are the next best thing. Women ages 19-50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, and if you’re over 50, you need 1,200 milligrams daily.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D for adults ages 19-70 is 600 units a day and 800 for adults over 71. Talk to the providers at Park Avenue Women’s Center if you think you’re not getting the calcium and vitamin D you need and ask if a supplement is right for you.
Excess weight and low body weight are both risk factors for osteoporosis. It’s important not to be too frail or too heavy, because both conditions can put your bones —and overall health — at risk.
Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing, aerobics, and strength-training help your bones produce more cells. More cells mean stronger, solid bones rather than thin, brittle ones. Plus, exercise can improve your overall health.
Vitamin D is essential for helping your bones absorb the calcium they need. You can get your vitamin D fix from the sun, foods, or supplements. Check with a provider at Park Avenue Women’s Center to make sure you’re getting enough.
Some medications can take their toll on your bones. Conversely, some can help make them strong. A common culprit is medications frequently prescribed for arthritis such as corticosteroids. They decrease the amount of calcium absorbed by your body.
Speak to your provider at Park Avenue Women’s Center about all your medications and concerns.
For more information on how to maintain bone strength and prevent bone loss, call Park Avenue Women’s Center, located in Yorkville on the Upper East Side, or make an appointment online through this website.