Gynecology - Osteoporosis - Steps to Better Bone Health


Better Bone Health

Osteoporosis can be prevented.  The earlier a person begins good bone health practices, the more likely they are to prevent osteoporosis.  Follow the treatment prescribed by your health care provider.  If you are taking medicine to treat your osteoporosis, be sure to take it as directed. For example, medicines such as alendronate must usually be taken with a full glass of water in the morning on an empty stomach. You must remain upright for at least a half hour after taking it.

Here are six quick steps you can take towards better bone health and osteoporosis prevention:

  1. Step One – Calcium    

The first step to preventing osteoporosis starts with a patient’s calcium intake.   Not getting enough calcium can begin as early as childhood.  Children who do not drink milk suffer from bone fractures two-and-a-half times more often than children who drink the recommended daily amount.  
The daily recommended amount of calcium changes over a person’s lifetime.  Children ages eight to eighteen should receive 1,300 mg of calcium per day.  Pre-menopausal women should receive 1,000 to 1,200 mg per day, while post-menopausal women should receive 1,500 mg per day. 
To get 1,200 mg of calcium from her a diet, a woman must consume a cup of yogurt (300 mg), a glass of calcium fortified orange juice (300 mg), and two glasses of milk (600 mg) every day. 
This much calcium can be difficult to fit into a person’s daily diet, especially if they are lactose intolerant.  Recommending a calcium supplement may be the best alternative for patients who have difficulty getting the calcium intake they need.  The best supplement to recommend is whichever one fits her budget and her tolerance.  It should be noted that name brand and time-tested brands are sometimes better than generic supplements. 
Other factors to consider regarding calcium supplements include calcium phosphate and calcium citrate versus calcium carbonate.  Calcium phosphate and calcium citrate are less constipating than calcium carbonate. Coral calcium has not been proven to be superior to name brand calcium supplements and is not worth the extra money. 
It is best to take calcium in divided doses with 500 mg or less being taken at a time.  It is also best to take the supplement with food.  Even dietary sources of calcium are absorbed better when taken with food.  A patient’s calcium intake should not be more thans 2,500 mg per day.

  1. Step Two – Vitamin D

Vitamin D intake plays an important role in preventing osteoporosis as well.   The recommended dose of Vitamin D is 400 international units (IU) for pre-menopausal women and 800 IU for postmenopausal women.  Men over 65 and anyone at risk for steroid induced osteoporosis should take 800 IU of Vitamin D daily.  Sun exposure can be a way to get vitamin D, but increases the risk of skin cancer.  The best way to get vitamin D is in food, fortified milk or as a supplement.

  1. Step Three – Regular Exercise

    Another step towards avoiding osteoporosis is regular, weight-bearing and strength-training exercises.  Exercise will not only help build and maintain strong bones, but helps with strength, balance and maintenance of a healthy weight.
  1. Step Four – NO TOBACCO

    Any tobacco use can negatively affect the patient’s bone health and have dramatic affects to their overall health. 
  1. Step Five – Avoid excessive alcohol use

    Excessive alcohol use can cause a negative impact on a person’s bone health.  Consuming more than two alcoholic beverages a day decreases bone formation.  A serving of an alcoholic beverage is 1 ounce of hard liquor, one 12-oz serving of beer, or one 4-oz glass of wine.
  1. Step Six – Limit caffeine intake

    Moderate caffeine consumption—two to three cups per day—will not affect a person’s bone health as long as there is adequate calcium intake.  Any more than moderate caffeine intake may result in poor bone health. 

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