Everyone should make the effort to keep their bones strong, but it’s a pressing concern for women. After the age of 50, nearly 20% of women will develop osteoporosis, and more than half will suffer an osteoporotic fracture. By comparison, osteoporosis affects just 4% of men.

At Pacific Rheumatology Medical CenterBehnam Khaleghi, MD, specializes in helping women and men prevent osteoporosis. He also provides individualized treatment if you develop osteoporosis and monitors potential bone loss that occurs when patients with inflammatory diseases take certain medications.

Ready to learn how to keep your bones strong as you age? Let’s explore how age affects your bones and how to prevent the bone loss that leads to weak, brittle bones.

Why bones weaken with age

Your bones stop growing in young adulthood, reaching their peak mass by the age of 30. Beyond 30, your bones gradually weaken if you don’t take steps to protect them.

Your body naturally eliminates old bone and replaces it with new bone. This process is intended to maintain bone strength. But as you get older, you lose bone faster than it’s replaced. As a result, your bones gradually lose density.

You don’t need to accept weak bones as an inevitable part of aging. You can keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis by following our six tips.

Six steps to strengthen your bones

You can maintain strong bones and restore bones weakened by osteoporosis if you:

Get your daily requirement of calcium and vitamin D

If you want to build strong bones, you must have enough calcium. You also need vitamin D for your body to absorb calcium.

There are very few food sources of vitamin D. It primarily comes from fortified foods (milk and cereal), egg yolks, and salmon. Your body transforms sunlight into vitamin D, but that doesn’t supply your needs if you wear sunscreen or clothing to protect yourself from ultraviolet light.

Many people develop a calcium deficiency as they get older, so aim to include top sources like dairy products, broccoli, cabbage, and beans in your meals. Though it’s best to get these nutrients from your diet, you may need to take supplements if you’re low on vitamin D or calcium.

Add weight-bearing exercise to your weekly routine

Engaging in weight-bearing activities helps offset bone loss by stimulating new bone growth. You can choose from many weight-bearing exercises, so you should be able to find one that fits your overall health and lifestyle. For example, walking, dancing, playing pickleball or tennis, and strength training are all weight-bearing activities.

Stop smoking

You can add weak bones to the long list of health problems caused by smoking. Nicotine slows the production of new bone cells, lowers absorption of calcium, and affects hormones needed to build new bones.

As a result, smoking increases your risk for osteoporosis. Smoking is also associated with musculoskeletal conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fractures.

Limit alcohol consumption

Heavy drinking decreases bone density and mass, weakens bones, and contributes to osteoporosis.

Be extra cautious after menopause

Estrogen is essential for promoting new bone production. When estrogen levels decline at menopause, a woman’s risk of osteoporosis rises dramatically. Many women lose up to 20% of their bone density in the first seven years after menopause.

It’s hard to overcome the impact of menopause with lifestyle changes. While diet and exercise are still important, you may also need medication to stop the bone loss and restore bone strength.

Get screened for osteoporosis

You may need osteoporosis screening if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Women age 65 and older
  • Postmenopausal women with a high risk for osteoporosis
  • Men age 70 and older
  • Men age 50 to 69 with a high risk for osteoporosis
  • Adults taking medications associated with bone loss, like corticosteroids

We perform risk assessments to determine when you should consider osteoporosis screening.

To learn more about preventing osteoporosis and risk assessments, call Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center or book online today.

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