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World Osteoporosis Day: Save yourself!

By Ritu Singh | Last Updated: Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 20:04

Ritu Singh

20th October marks World Osteoporosis Day .Often ignored, people don’t realise that they have this disease until they suffer their first fracture. So on this day it’s important to have an understanding and awareness of this condition and also the measures to avert this ailment. We bring before you reliable measures to save yourself from osteoporosis. Just maintaining a healthy lifestyle and consuming a rich balanced diet is enough to ward off this disease.

Have enough of calcium: Our body’s requirement of calcium can be met by consuming a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fish and milk. Don’t forget to have a glass of milk everyday and other milk products like non-fat yogurt and reduced-fat cheeses. These products will ensure that your bones remain strong and they receive enough nutrition. There are also nutrients which enhance the absorption of calcium. Magnesium helps with calcium metabolism and in transporting calcium in to bones and soft tissue. Vitamin C is another calcium enhancer.

Eat loads of Green: Leafy green vegetables have ample amounts of calcium, plus the potassium and vitamin K that we need to block calcium loss from bones. Always have a full stock of broccoli, bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, and turnip greens.

Don’t shy away from the sun: Your daily requirement of Vitamin D can be created in the body with just 20 minutes of daily exposure to the sun. So don’t hide yourself from the sun and let your body absorb that essential vitamin. Vitamin D is vital for calcium being transformed into a usable form by increasing calcium absorption in the small intestines and retention by the kidneys.

Exercise right: The bone strength and density can only be built up properly if we make it a habit of exercising daily for at least 30 minutes. Bones grow stronger with physical stress. For strong bones, weight training and resistance exercise is the best recommended exercise.

Avoid smoking and drinking:Drinking alcohol can make the bones weak and cause damage. People who smoke are not able to absorb as much dietary calcium as required which leads to a poor bone density. Smoking is again very harmful for women and they are at greater risk because smoking lowers the estrogen levels.

Don’t let depression hover over you: When the mind is in a depressed state, the body produces a stress related hormone known as cortisol which saps minerals from bones. One study showed that women with clinical depression had lower bone densities in their hips and spines.So, in such a situation it’s preferable to consult a doctor to seek help.

Choose supplements: Both women and men need 1,000 mg of elemental calcium a day during midlife. The need rises to 1,500 to 2,000 mg daily after menopause in women and after age 65 in men. In case this requirement does not get fulfilled, supplements should be opted. It should be made sure that the supplement contains vitamin D, which facilitates the absorption of calcium.

Take preventive medication: In case a person already has several risk factors for developing osteoporosis, then taking certain medication can assist in prevention of the disease. This includes calcium and vitamin D supplements and also estrogen therapy, hormone therapy or the use of RANK ligand inhibitor and bisphosphonates.

Thus by being well informed and proactive about osteoporosis and being aware about the preventive measures you can save yourself and your family members from a lifetime of suffering and disability.

First Published: Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 19:18

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