The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

October 11, 2013

Exploring the ins and outs of osteoporosis and its prevention

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* Heavy alcohol consumption. Alcohol can inhibit the body from absorbing enough calcium. This may lead to osteoporosis.

* Smoking. Research has shown that tobacco use contributes to the weakening of bones.

Uncontrollable risk factors:

* Sex. Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men.

* Age. Older folks have a greater risk of osteoporosis.

* Genetics. Family history of osteoporosis increases your likelihood of developing the condition. The problem may be even more likely if your family also has a history of hip fractures.

* Small body frame. People with a small body frame have less bone mass and, in effect, a better chance of developing osteoporosis.

* Race. As previously stated, Asian and white women are most often affected by osteoporosis.

Q. What can I do to prevent osteoporosis?

A. Making a few positive lifestyle changes can assist in your quest to improve bone health and reduce your chances of osteoporosis. Some bone-healthy choices to make are:

* Not smoking

* Limiting alcohol intake

* Preventing falls by wearing appropriate footwear, using or installing railings in your home, and effectively lighting rooms

* Incorporating calcium-rich foods – like bone-in salmon, kale, and green and red peppers – and vitamin D into your diet

* Exercising regularly to improve bone strength

Unfortunately, the older you get, the more health issues you face, and osteoporosis is one of these potential health issues. You can better prepare your bones to withstand the effects of aging by making health-conscious choices. A life free of osteoporosis will certainly contribute to your overall happiness and well-being.

Usha Kalava, M.B.B.S., is an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System. For more information, please go to mayoclinichealthsystem.org.

Health & Fitness coverage is supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, preserving the health and well-being of southern Minnesota communities.

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