Doctor showing female patient bone density scan resultsOsteoporosis is a disease that weakens your bones and increases the risk of a fracture.  It’s a common problem for women over 50 and the National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that half of post-menopausal women will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Building bone health when you’re young can make a big difference in your risk for osteoporosis, but there are things you can do at any age that help to keep your bones strong.

Make Sure You Exercise

Weight-bearing exercise is important for good bone health.  This can be walking, running, playing tennis, using resistance bands or lifting weights. Falling is the number-one cause of bone fractures and exercises to improve your balance can help prevent a fall.

You Need Calcium Every Day

Calcium builds strong bones and women need at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. If you’re over 50 you should increase that to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day.

Many foods are naturally rich in calcium and milk, cheese and yogurt are some of the best sources.  You can eat non-dairy calcium-rich foods like sardines, canned salmon and tuna, as well as almonds and dark green leafy vegetables.

Many foods including orange juice and breakfast cereals are fortified with calcium. Taking a daily supplement can also provide more calcium but supplements can't duplicate what foods offer naturally.

Get Your Vitamin D Naturally With The Sun

Your body creates vitamin D to absorb calcium and you can make all you need with about 15 minutes of exposure to the sun each day. If you get less sun, some foods are fortified with vitamin D and it’s also found in daily vitamin supplements.

Stop Smoking And Drink Less

Smoking is a risk factor for osteoporosis, and better bone health is another good reason to quit. Alcohol can also increase your risk for osteoporosis, so limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage per day.

Remember to talk to your healthcare provider about your individual needs for calcium and vitamin D and ask whether a bone density test is right for you.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax