This week on the topic of Osteoporosis Awareness, there are so many interesting facts & tips we can’t decide what to focus on… so we’re doing summaries of our fave 4. The topics hit both sides of the male/female spectrum, pets not included, so read on & share with your friends & family.
“He who takes medicine & neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors.” – Chinese Proverb
Men: You Are At Risk
Did you know: 20% of those affected by osteoporosis are men. That translates to approximately 2 million American men already have osteoporosis & another 12 million are at risk (National Osteoporosis Foundation).
If you have the following factors, you are at risk for osteoporosis (NOF):
- Low estrogen &/or testosterone levels
- Taking steroid medicine
- Have chronic kidney, lung or gastrointestinal disease, prostate cancer, certain autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Smoking or drinking too much alcohol
- Not exercising
And a lot of you are big sports fans, so keep in mind what activities are good for bones. For example: running, racquetball, basketball & weight-lifting are all helpful as long as you maintain proper form. But if you have osteoporosis already, avoid sports that involve twisting the spine like golf or tennis (NOF).
Check out these weight-bearing exercises for osteoporosis from the Ladies’ Home Journal.
Expanded Waistlines Increase Risk
Recent research shows belly fat can raise a woman’s risk of osteoporosis, as examined by Miriam Bredella, MD, assistant professor of radiology at Mass. General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In the article “Belly Fat Linked to Women’s Osteoporosis Risk” (available on WebMD) written by Charlene Laino, young women with deep belly fat show reduced bone mineral density making their bones more fragile.
But it’s not just having belly fat that is the problem.
There are different types of fat in the body: two of the most common include subcutaneous & visceral. Subcutaneous fat which lies just beneath the surface of the skin is generally softer & easier to grasp. When studying women with this type of fat using CT scans & MRI images, Bredella, MD (WebMD) found normal bone structure.
On the other hand, Visceral fat – the intra-abdominal “bad” fat – when found in excess showed more porous bone structure. Women who carry fat naturally around the midsection (apple-shaped body) are more likely to have lower bone mineral density & therefore are at a higher risk for osteoporosis (WebMD).
Are You Pregnant?
While pregnant, it is crucial to get enough calcium to both the woman & growing fetus. During her second third trimesters, a woman absorbs more calcium. She also receives a surge of estrogen during the third trimester which may protect bones. Due to increased weight & potential bone loss during pregnancy, it is recommended women either pregnant or nursing get 1,000 mg of calcium & 400-800 IU of vitamin D every day (ages 19+)(NOF).
Studies have been done to determine if pregnancy, whether singular or multiple, & at what age a woman becomes pregnant has any link to increased risk of osteoporosis. Luckily, studies show having as many as 10 children does not have a negative link to osteoporosis (NOF). Rather, women who have never been pregnant may be at greater risk for bone loss.
When it comes to breastfeeding, women are recommended to continue for 6-12 months once the child is born. It has not only health benefits for both mother & child but it does not appear to be linked to bone health (NOF).
Soft Drinks: Bones’ Worst Friend
Certain soft drinks (especially colas) contain several of ingredients that can be detrimental to bone health. The more soda a person drinks, whether it’s for a caffeine boost or for taste, the more likely bones will become brittle due to lack of calcium absorbed. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, adults under age 50 should intact 1,000 mg of calcium every day & those age 50+ should consume 1,200 mg each day of calcium (NOF).
The following ingredients are key-players in soda (NOF):
- Phosphorus – Exists in human bones & is a necessity to build strong bones & other tissues. However, phosphorus in excess can lead to reduced levels of calcium absorbed by the body.
- Caffeine – Naturally found in coffee & tea, it is an additive when it comes to soft drinks. High doses of caffeine disrupts absorption of calcium & increases the amount of calcium in urine. In fact, 4 cups of coffee a day increases risk of broken bones.
- Carbonation – Currently there is no link between carbonation & bone loss. Some mineral waters with natural carbonation actually improve bone health.
If you already have osteoporosis, keep the soft drinks to 5 servings a week to avoid further damage as recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation.