Calcium: Key To Healthy Bones
Many women think of osteoporosis as either a natural effect of aging or an older woman’s disease. Every woman should be conscious of the potential for developing this disease and how to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. This disease makes the bones frail and leads to an increased susceptibility to fractures. The most common fractures caused by osteoporosis are of the hip, spine and wrist.
According to the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, some 25 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis; 80 percent are women. Osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million fractures annually; one out of every two women and one in five men have an osteoporosis-related fracture. This disease affects one third of all men by age 75 and can strike anyone at any age.
Three key essentials to preventing osteoporosis throughout life are appropriate diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices. Some things you can do include:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium
- Exercise regularly, especially weight-bearing activities
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
- Talk to your doctor if you have a family history of osteoporosis
The best prevention is building strong bones before the age of 35. Building strong bones means increasing calcium intake either through foods rich in calcium or through calcium supplements. The recommended daily intake of calcium for adults ranges anywhere from 800 mg to 1500 mg of calcium based on age, lifestyle, and other factors. Consult your primary care physician to find out how much calcium you need on a daily basis.
The following are some foods you may eat frequently which are high in calcium:
- 1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt = 452 milligrams of calcium
- 1 10 fl. oz. chocolate milkshake = 319 milligrams of calcium
- 1/2 cup fresh cooked broccoli = 89 milligrams of calcium
- Pizza Hut’s supreme personal pan pizza = 520 milligrams of calcium
- McDonald’s Big Mac = 256 milligrams of calcium
- Lasagna = 460 milligrams of calcium
There is no cure for osteoporosis, but treatments are available to help stop further bone loss and therefore help avoid fractures. Consult your primary care physician to discuss your personal risk factors.
No matter what your age, take care of your bones now!
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