Most know that osteoporosis has something to do with the bones, but what exactly is it and how can you know if you are at risk for it? We are going to start out by offering you a little bit of education on the disease. Known as a bone disease, osteoporosis occurs when your body loses too much bone or no longer makes as much bone as it did before. While the level of the disease can vary quite a bit from person to person, it is essentially a weakening of the bones, which can ultimately lead to fractures resulting from minor falls. Believe it or not, osteoporosis can get so bad that even a sneeze can cause bone breakage.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, nearly 30 million people in the United States have osteoporosis or are at risk for it (citation- author’s last name and year). If you are a female, you have a higher chance of getting the disease. This is because women start with lower bone density than men, and they have a tendency to lose that bone mass at a more rapid pace. Between the ages of 20 and 80, women lose one-third of their hip-bone density, as opposed to their male counterparts who lose only one-fourth of their hip bone density.
It’s hard to predict whether you will be a victim of osteoporosis, however; there are definitely some behaviors that can contribute to your chances of developing the condition. Let’s talk about the factors that could be playing a role in your lack of bone density.
Diet. If you aren’t eating enough foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, then you are likely putting yourself at a higher risk for osteoporosis. Vitamin D is useful in absorbing calcium, and the combination of both promotes bone growth. Foods such as spinach, kale, and fish, all have a decent amount of both calcium and vitamin D. It can be as easy as adding a cup of spinach to one meal every day.
Exercise. Much in the same way that your muscles respond to movement, your bones won’t become as strong if you fail to live an active lifestyle. This lack of activity can lead to less protection against osteoporosis. Try going for a hike or lifting weights regularly to achieve the growth necessary to ward of osteoporosis.
Cigarette smoking. There is nothing positive when it comes to smoking cigarettes, but it has a direct impact on your bone health. Smoking can cause a shift in your hormones, which will also alter the function and activity of the cells that promote bone growth.
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