235. Tactics to Prevent Osteoporosis

Everyone’s bones lose density after age 40. In women, menopause accelerates the loss, especially for women who are thin or small-boned, have red or blond hair or freckles, are of Oriental or northern European descent, or have never had any children. Smoking, a sedentary life, taking corticosteroids, and eating too few calcium-containing foods also increase the risk. And the earlier you reach menopause, the higher the risk. (Women who have a family history of osteoporosis, or have hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, and certain forms of bone cancer are also at risk.)

To prevent or slow osteoporosis, take these steps now.

  1. Be sure your diet includes a minimum of 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. As mentioned in Tip 112 in chapter 4, Eating for Better Health, high-calcium foods include low-fat dairy products and soft-boned fish, like salmon and sardines. Beans and bean sprouts, soybean curd, broccoli, kale, and sunflower seeds contain small amounts of calcium, too. Avoid supplements derived from dolomite or bone meal, however.

  2. Follow a program of regular, weight-bearing exercise like walking, jogging, biking, or low-impact or non-impact aerobics.

  3. Ask your doctor about medications that can prevent osteoporosis.

Chapter 9
  1. Women’s Health Problems