Keeping our bones strong should be one of our highest priorities as we age. Although women are more prone to osteoporosis, 1 out of 3 senior men develops this condition. The issue of weakened bones and possible resulting fractures can have a profound effect on a senior’s life including loss of independence in some cases. We have the ability to prevent this disease with exercise, diet and adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D. Other factors influence your chances of osteoporosis such as family history, smoking, and drinking too much.
Osteoporosis develops when your bones dissolve faster than your body is rebuilding new bone matter. Under optimal conditions, the body builds a new skeleton every ten years.
If you are unable to avoid the onset of osteoporosis, there are medications available today that can improve the prognosis. It is an easy condition to diagnose and is usually part of routine exams once you reach a certain age. The weakening of the bones will not be obvious to you as it does not cause discomfort or pain. The most obvious sign is when people start “shrinking” or losing some of their previous height. Doctors recommend a quality bone density test when senior women reach 65 and senior men reach 70 years of age.
Weight-bearing exercise is able to improve bone density. Doctors often recommend exercise and balance training as part of treatment. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that seniors practice a 30 minute a day routine of weight-bearing activity. This includes climbing, low-impact aerobics, walking, hiking, or dancing. Avoid any type of activity that puts you at risk for a fall.
Other exercise-related options include yoga, tai chi, and pilates. These exercises build muscles, bone, and balance. Participation in exercise programs should be done in moderation and you should practice caution. People that have osteoporosis should avoid a routine that includes forward bends, crunches, spinal twists, and sit-ups. Confer with a personal trainer or physical therapist to evaluate your routine or help layout a routine that is safe for you to follow.
It is recommended that adults get 1,200 milligrams of calcium either from diet or through supplements. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium so it is recommended that seniors intake 800-1000 units of vitamin D3.
Plant Hormone Found in Soy
Genistein, a plant hormone found primarily in soy food, is an alternative to hormone replacement. Many women previously prescribed estrogen therapy are now looking for alternatives since this therapy can increase the risks of stroke, breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. They have found an alternative in soy products.
Getting soy foods in your diet – tofu and soy milk – is a healthy habit you should try to incorporate into your daily life. If these find soy, not to your likings, take other steps to prevent bone loss – Take Vitamin D, get enough calcium and magnesium. In your diet – eat lots of dark fruits and vegetables. Don’t smoke and keep your weight within normal limits.
Getting soy isoflavones in your diet may help reduce bone loss and less bone loss generally means fewer fractures.
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