Create Lifestyle Changes for Osteoporosis-Prevention

Osteoporosis-prevention starts with a bone density test (DEXA Scan) to determine if you have bone loss. An indication of the beginning of bone loss does not necessarily mean that you have osteoporosis. It is, however, an indication that there is a potential of developing the disease in the future.

Determining your risk is an important early step in osteoporosis-prevention. You could be at risk if you have a family history of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is most common in post-menopausal women. Pre-menopausal women are also at risk if their lifestyle includes such factors as smoking, low body weight, estrogen deficiency, alcoholism, and lack of exercise. Women who have had their ovaries removed before menopause often develop osteoporosis early. Hormone replacement therapy should be discussed with your physician. It has been shown to reduce the incidents of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is responsible for about 1.2 million fractures a year. It has been estimated that as many as twenty percent of hip fractures in the elderly are fatal and that over 50 percent of survivors never leave the nursing home.

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Bones are dynamic, ever changing tissues and just like all other body tissues, are constantly breaking down, reforming, reabsorbing and depositing calcium. As we get older, the ratio of breakdown and reformation changes. Bone breakdown can eventually exceed bone formation. This change in ratio is higher in postmenopausal women.

Bone mass peaks around the age of thirty and begins a gradual decline. The rate of bone loss is often much faster after estrogen levels begin to decline. Taking calcium is not enough to prevent or stop the progression of osteoporosis.

Exercise has a significant role in osteoporosis-prevention.

When increased force by exercise is applied to a stress point, the bone responds by depositing more calcium at that site strengthening it. Stress points are the attachment points of ligaments and tendons. Several studies of nursing home residents have shown that regular resistance exercises can significantly increase strength, mobility and reduce the incidence of fractures.

The same lifestyle adjustments in an osteoporosis-prevention program can also mitigate its impact if diagnosed. The most important lifestyle adjustment to prevent or reduce osteoporosis is to change our diet and add a regular resistance exercise program.

Important role of diet and nutrition

To maintain your bone health you should eat at least seven to ten servings of fruits and dark green vegetables each day. The potassium and magnesium in plants protects the bones and many high-density vegetables also contain calcium. Broccoli, spinach and kale are very good. Seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables is not easy to do and makes a good case for juicing. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce osteoporosis and should be a part of your osteoporosis-prevention program.

Our diet should contain equal amounts of calcium and phosphorus. Too much phosphorus can weaken bone. On average our diet contains more than two times as much phosphorus as calcium. Meat protein, milk, processed foods, and soft drinks are high in phosphorus. Sodas are really bad for bone health.

Bone loss is also the result of high acidity in the blood. If the acidity is chronic, the result can be a significant loss of bone calcium. When the body makes excess acid, it draws calcium from the bones to bind with acid. The acid and calcium are then eliminated through the kidneys. Since high protein diets are very acidic, a change in diet to reduce acid is necessary. Minimize the consumption of meat. It is suggested that we eat no more than six ounces of meat twice per day.

Your body needs calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, vitamin K, vitamin D3, and boron. It is always best to get needed nutrients from food but nutritional supplementation may be necessary. Always consult with your physician before starting any program of nutritional supplementation. Do not take vitamin K if you are on any kind of blood thinning medication and do discuss with your doctor. Nutritional supplements do not cure or prevent illness and disease.  They only give the body the extra nutrition it needs to take care of itself!  A healthy lifestyle starts with good nutrition.

References and additional reading:

  • For more information on osteoporosis-prevention, please reference the books listed in this site. Those by Dr. Pamela Smith, Dr. Russell Blaylock and Dr. William Sears are especially appropriate.

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