Osteoporosis is a disease, in which the bones tend to become extremely porous, fragile and brittle, and are subject to fracture. This disease occurs, due to loss of tissues, or hormonal changes, or Vitamin D or calcium deficiency. This disease is very common in women, especially after menopause. After the age of 35, bone loss occurs rapidly in women. Normally, patients don’t realise they are suffering from osteoporosis until they suffer from bone fractures.
According to International Osteoporosis Foundation, around 200 million women are affected by Osteoporosis, worldwide. An average woman loses almost one-third of her hip bone density between the ages of 20 to 80. Men reach their peak bone mass by the age of 20 whereas women, reach theirs by the age of 18.
Low estrogen level causes osteoporosis in women. After menopause, older women have a drastic drop in estrogen. And as time passes, the risk of bone fractures or risk of osteoporosis increases, as older women lose more bones as compared to replacing them. Younger women who suffer from anorexia or stop menstruating suffer from bone loss. Estrogen plays an important role in keeping the bones strong in a woman’s body. Estrogen also regulates the reproductive cycle of women. After going through menopause, women tend to lose bone mass very rapidly. An early menopause, before the age of 45, leads to osteoporosis. If a woman’s ovaries are removed, then she has 99.9% chances of suffering from osteoporosis.
If a girl starts her periods later than the normal age than she has the chances of suffering from osteoporosis. Sometimes hormonal imbalance also leads to osteoporosis.
You cannot change your genes, gender or age to prevent Osteoporosis. But that doesn’t mean, there are no other ways to prevent the disease.
So here are 13 tips to prevent osteoporosis in women:
Say no to alcohol
Drinking alcohol in higher quantities leads to more chances of bone loss. You can have maximum two drinks per day, and you should avoid drinking daily.
Say strictly no to cigarettes
Smoking restricts the estrogen hormone from working properly in the body. Thus increasing the chances of bone loss.
Like our muscles, our bones also need a workout. Weight-bearing exercises like aerobics, jogging, jumping, dancing, climbing stairs, running, walking, and yoga or water aerobics, make our bones strong. These weight-bearing exercises, force the body to work against gravity, thus enabling the body to form new bones.
Strength training enables to build bone strength. You can even boost your bone health by doing simple things such as, lifting free weights, lifting grocery bags, lifting ankle or wrist weights or using resistance bands which are elastic. You can even do squats and push-ups.
Intake of foods which have proper quantities of calcium
Human bones are a great source of calcium, and when your body is deficient in calcium, it starts breaking your bones, to fulfil its calcium deficiency. So it’s important, you eat foods rich in calcium, daily. Cereals, tofu, salmon, sardines, soy milk, dark green vegetables like broccoli are rich in calcium. You can even eat no fat dairy products.
Intake of foods containing proper quantities of Vitamin D
Vitamin D enables the body to absorb the calcium from the food items that you eat. Foods like salmon, egg yolks, cheese, tuna, beef liver, milk, orange juice are rich in Vitamin D. Moreover when the body is exposed to the rays of the sun, the skin automatically makes Vitamin D. So you should spend at least some time outdoors.
Avoid over exercising
Every woman should avoid the female athlete triad. Women, who exercise vigorously, normally face three issues, thin bones, eating disorders and irregular or lack of menstrual cycle. Young athletes who follow restrictive diets and workout vigorously have lower estrogen level, which leads to low bone mass.
Avoid drinking soda in huge quantities
Carbonated soft drinks such as colas lead to bone loss. These carbonated soft drinks contain extra quantities of phosphorus, which prevents the body from absorbing calcium.
Eat protein rich foods
Proteins keep the body muscles healthy, and they support the bones. Kidney beans, lentils, soy products, grains, seeds and nuts are great sources of proteins. But don’t eat an excess of protein rich foods.
Avoid the intake of caffeine
Consuming high doses of coffee increases the risk of hip fractures in women, especially older women. According to researchers, one should have a maximum of 300 mg of coffee per day. Caffeine is not only present in coffee but also in some medicines, sports drinks and supplements, so you should read the ingredients label, before consuming an item.
Avoid unhealthy and extreme dieting
If you are very thin or having eating disorders, then your bones tend to become very weak as they are deprived of proteins and other nutrients. If you are dieting constantly, then your bones become very weak and thus the chance of suffering from osteoporosis becomes more.
Get regular density tests
If you have broken your bone in a fall, then you should immediately realise that you have thin bones, and get a density test done. Most women don’t even realise that they are suffering from osteoporosis till they reach the age of 50 or 60, due to irregular or no density tests. Irrespective of your age, every woman should get regular density tests.
Avoid taking unnecessary stress
Excess stress raises the level of cortisol in the body. High level of cortisol leads to weakening of bones, leading to bone loss. Cortisol causes insulin resistance leading to loss of calcium in the urine. You can reduce your stress by doing yoga, meditation getting a massage, proper sleep or taking a vacation.
So ladies, have regular bone density checkups, and follow all the above tips so as to avoid osteoporosis as weak and fragile bones can make your life harder than you can imagine!