Postmenopausal (Type I) osteoporosis can be significantly influenced by preventive measures. Most of these behaviors are up to the individual and should be started as early in life as possible. For those genetically predisposed to osteoporosis, the following practices are even more important:
- Exercise regularly — weight-bearing exercises (activities that work one’s bones and muscles against gravity) are essential to maintaining bone health.
- Ensure adequate calcium intake — Calcium plays a key role in keeping bones strong. Vitamin D is also essential, as it helps ensure absorption and retention of calcium in bones. Calcium and vitamin D requirements vary depending on age and gender.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet — Certain foods provide excellent sources of calcium, while diets high in protein and/or sodium increase calcium loss.
- Quit smoking — Smoking has a detrimental effect on bone density, leading to greater risk of injury and longer recovery times.
- Limit alcohol consumption — While the exact way alcohol affects bone isn’t entirely understood, excessive alcohol use has been proven to accelerate bone loss.
- Limit intake of colas/sodas — recent research indicates that too much cola or soda can increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Undergo bone density testing — every 1-2 years if you are postmenopausal, over age 65, or have other risk factors. Bone mineral density (BMD) tests indicate normal, low or osteoporotic bone density levels, as well as any increased risk of fracture.
For more information, see How to Prevent Osteoporosis.