|By Jill Armayor, as seen on LIVESTRONG.com
In the United States, over 40 million people either already have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or are at high risk of developing osteoporosis due to decreased bone mass. Those with osteoporosis are at increased risk for bone fractures and breaks. You may have recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis or you may be at high risk of developing the disease. Being female, older, thin-framed, of the Caucasian race and exhibiting a family history of osteoporosis can put you in a high-risk category. However, bone loss is highly preventable and can be reversed by following some simple guidelines.
Evaluate your calcium and vitamin D consumption, two nutrients essential for strong bone. The recommended daily amounts for calcium and vitamin D for adults are up to 1,200 mg and 600 IU, respectively. Foods highest in calcium and vitamin D are dairy foods like low fat milk and cheese. Lesser amounts are found in leafy greens. Cereals, breads and juices fortified with calcium and vitamin D are on the market, offering more excellent choices.
Consider a calcium supplement. If you feel that you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, your doctor may recommend one. Calcium can be found in your multi-vitamin, or your doctor may recommend calcium carbonate or calcium citrate supplements. Ideally, your calcium supplement should also contain vitamin D. Calcium carbonate should be taken with foods, whereas calcium citrate can be taken on an empty stomach.
Get active. Weight bearing exercises such as walking, running, golf, hiking or tennis can be beneficial in preserving bone mass. Try to participate in weight bearing exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. Ask your doctor or another professional if you are a good candidate for a resistance training program and which exercises are approved for you to do. Resistance training uses weights and machines to build muscle and can also increase the strength of the bones.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Chronic heavy drinking can contribute to decreased bone mass over time and has also been associated with the increased risk of fractures.
If you smoke, it is time to quit. Smoking can weaken the bones by reducing blood supply to the bones, slows the production of bone-forming cells and decreases the amount of calcium that can be absorbed from your diet. Smoking also seems to break down estrogen, an important hormone used in maintaining strong bone, particularly in women.
Check with your doctor before implementing any supplementation into your diet, especially if you suffer from a chronic condition that requires medication. Many health conditions and medications can contribute to bone loss, and professional care from a physician is required. If you have never participated in an exercise program before, check with your doctor before proceeding.