Remaining — or becoming — physically active can help prevent osteoporosis. Bone mass is dependent on the stress, or weight, placed on bones. The more you use your bones to walk, run, lift weights, the heavier and stronger your bones will be.
Wondering what type of physical activity to pursue to help keep your bones strong? One new research study says gardening can give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck where preventing osteoporosis is concerned. Pushing a lawnmower, raking, and lifting a wheelbarrow filled with mulch or weeds all are great weight-bearing exercises.
Help protect yourself against broken bones that can lead to other health complications and death in older adults. Keep your stairways and living areas well lighted. Clear away clutter and repair any loose floorboards or carpeting. Tack or tape down throw rugs. Install grab bars in showers, bathtubs and beside the toilet. And, don't stand on stools or chairs to get those out-of-reach items - keep things you use regularly where you can get to them easily and safely.
If you are middle age or older and fracture a bone, talk to your health care professional about having a bone density scan to test for osteoporosis — if he or she doesn't suggest one. Fractures at these ages are red flags that warrant further investigation for underlying health problems. Don't just get your cast on and go home!
It can be challenging to get the calcium you need from your diet. Try these strategies to make sure you get between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily: add powdered milk to soups, casseroles and drinks; and buy juices, cereals, breads, grains and bottled water fortified with calcium. Try the whopper: sprinkle half a cup of diced figs over an 8-ounce serving of yogurt and you'll get more than half of an adult's daily calcium needs.
Copyright 2003 National Women's Health Resource Center Inc. (NWHRC)
Osteoporosis develops gradually, usually without causing symptoms. A broken bone or fracture is typically the first sign.