Thursday, October 10, 2013

Osteoporosis Prevention: Start Early!


A main focus of the osteoporosis literature is treatment by various drugs which are targeted toward prevention of post-menopausal fractures.  However, a recent review by physicians at New York University Medical Center in the journal Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology stresses the view that "…no treatment is as effective as prevention."

The authors cite that by the age of 18, most women have 92 percent of their total bone mineral content, and by age 26, they have attained 99 percent.  This implies the importance of establishing behaviors, such as activity and nutrition that promote bone health early in life.  Take the following steps to prevent bone loss and promote bone strength:

1.      Exercise: Weight-bearing exercise is known to have a positive effect on bone strength. 
2.      Nutrition: Vitamin D and calcium intake is critical to for bone health.  An increase in the consumption of dairy products, as well as mushrooms and certain types of fish (including salmon, sardines and tuna) allow the body to maintain stronger bones.
3.      Lifestyle: Avoiding excessive alcohol intake (more than 3 drinks per day) and smoking can have a negative effect on bone maintenance.  Avoiding or reducing these behaviors will reduce the risk of bone density loss.

The bottom line is that many lifestyle choices before menopause can markedly reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life. 

Find the abstract here.

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