Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk.
Osteoporosis and the broken bones it can cause are not part of normal aging. You’re never too young or too old to improve the health of your bones. Whatever your age, the habits you adopt now can affect your bone health for the rest of your life.
What can you do to protect your bones?
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well-balanced diet.
- Engage in regular exercise.
- Eat foods that are good for bone health, such as fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid smoking, and limit alcohol to 2–3 drinks per day.
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential to building strong, dense bones when you’re young and to keeping them strong and healthy as you age.
Additionally, there are two types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
Finally, the food that you eat can affect your bones. Learning about the foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients that are important for your bone health and overall health will help you make healthier food choices every day.
Be sure to talk to your health care provider about your chance of getting osteoporosis and ask when it’s appropriate for you to have a bone density test.