Are You At Risk For Osteoporosis?
If you ask most people to name risk factors for osteoporosis, they may list "being female" and a low calcium intake. But while females are at a much higher risk of osteoporosis than males—and not eating enough calcium can make the condition more likely—these are far from the only risk factors for osteoporosis. Take a look at these other risk factors, some of which you may be able to modify to reduce your own risk of weak, brittle bones.
Low Vitamin D Levels
Calcium and vitamin D work together to promote bone health, so even if you have plenty of calcium in your diet, you may develop osteoporosis if you don't enough vitamin D. Your body actually makes its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but many people these days spend so much time indoors that their bodies just don't make enough. Foods that are high in vitamin D include seafood, milk, and fortified cereal. If you don't eat a lot of these foods, talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
When you create impact on your bones with exercise, your body responds by making the bones stronger. So, if you lead an inactive lifestyle for a number of years, this increases your risk of developing osteoporosis. You don't have to run marathons or even 5K races to protect yourself. Just make sure you walk for at least 30 minutes each day and generally stay active, rather than spending all your time in an office chair or on the couch.
As if you needed another reason to quit smoking! Cigarette smoking directly leads to a loss of bone density. It also tends to make people less active, since it causes them to struggle breathing, which indirectly has a negative effect on bone strength. If you have had trouble quitting smoking in the past, try reaching out to a cognitive behavioral therapist for help. This type of treatment seeks to address the situations that trigger you to smoke, and many patients who have failed to quit with other methods find it helpful.
Many antiseizure medications decrease your bone density and have been associated with osteoporosis. If you are taking one of these drugs, you should not stop taking it because of the risk of side effects. However, you should have your bone density tested regularly for signs of osteoporosis and also address any other risk factors, like low vitamin D and smoking, as best you can.
For more information, talk to centers like Sarasota Arthritis Center.