What Kind of Risk do you have for Osteoporosis?

mr-bones-2-1484353-1280x96025 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis and 1.2 million bone fractures are related to osteoporosis.  These numbers are no joke and they carry significant weight in telling us the crucial impact that osteoporosis has in women’s’ health.  These numbers translate to one third of all women experiencing a fracture of the spine due to osteoporosis a year.

What is Osteoporosis? Osteoporosis occurs when someone loses too much bone over time through age.  It causes bones to become brittle and fragile, leaving them very vulnerable to break with injury or fracture.  The reason why so many women get diagnosed with osteoporosis is that it’s common has to do with menopause. During menopause, the level of estrogen produced by the body curbs significantly leading to bone loss.

Are you at Risk?  

Here are some risk factors of osteoporosis that can help gauge your vulnerability:

  1. White women typically have a higher risk than other ethnicities in receiving diagnosis of osteoporosis.
  2. Women that are genetically slenderer and have a more petite-build are at higher risk.
  3. Those with a history of osteoporosis are also at a significantly higher risk.

What are some Things you can Do to Prevent the Onset of Osteoporosis?

  1. Avoid medications such as diuretics, steroids and anticonvulsants as they greatly enhance the risk of being diagnosed with osteoporosis.
  2. Avoid alcohol and smoking as these group of women have a higher incidence of osteoporosis.
  3. Try to maintain and active lifestyle. Those that lead a sedentary lifestyle have a generally higher risk.  Although everyone is biologically different in terms of exercise and while age certainly poses some limitations on the extent of exercise one may be able to perform, opt to perform low-level exercise for 20 minutes at least four times a week and try to include aerobic as well as cardio in this exercise regimen.
  4. Consume more Calcium-rich foods and liquids or take calcium supplements. If you know that you have a majority of risk factors for developing osteoporosis, be aware that your body can only absorb up to 500 mg of calcium at one time.  The best method is to consume calcium through foods and liquids.  Milk, for example is calcium-rich and contains plenty of vitamin D.  Other calcium rick foods include: cheese, yogurt, sardines, dark leaf greens such as spinach, kale and turnips, specialized cereals, soybeans, and some foods fueled with grains.

 

How much calcium is enough?

Ages 1-10: 800 mg/day

Ages 11-19: 1200-1500/ day

Ages 25-50: 1000 mg/day

Over 50: 1500 mg/ day

 

Let’s put this in perspective: One cup of milk contains about 300 mg of calcium, one cup of yogurt contains 450 mg of calcium, ice cream contains 100 mg, an 8-ounce cup of orange juice contains 300 mg and a cup of kale contains 55 mg.

For more about the calcium content in other foods visit: www.ucsfhealth.org