At some point or another, you have probably seen an elderly woman who cannot stand straight due to her back being hunched over. Most likely the cause is osteoporosis, which is a disease that makes your bones very brittle and weak. Osteoporosis can affect anyone, but Caucasian and Asian women past the age of menopause are at the most risk of developing the disease. There are early warning signs and preventative measures that you can take to lessen your chances of developing osteoporosis, or preventing it from becoming severe if you have already been diagnosed.
Diet and exercise are both important factors for preventing osteoporosis. Ensuring that you have a healthy diet rich with calcium and vitamin D is crucial. If you are lactose intolerant or do not regularly eat foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, it is especially important to take a calcium and vitamin supplement. Many doctors recommend that post menopausal woman take these supplements regardless of their diet as a preventative measure. Exercises such as walking, jogging, light weight lifting or resistance exercises that build muscle mass help prevent the disease by strengthening your bones.
Since early onset osteoporosis is not always accompanied with any pain or other symptoms, it is very important to speak with your doctor about regular screenings once you have reached menopause. Although it is not always genetic, people who have a family history of osteoporosis are at the greatest risk for developing it. If osteoporosis is part of your family history, it is important that your doctor knows that as he or she will most likely want you to take extra preventative measures to avoid the disease entirely.
It is important that you keep a check on your height as well. One of the main signs of osteoporosis is height loss. Your doctor will most likely check your height for your annual visit, but measuring your heigth at home every 3-6 months is also recommended. Osteoporosis weakens the bones and makes them more prone to breaking. If you have recently had a bone fracture due to an injury that was not initially severe, you should be screened for osteoporosis by your doctor at that time as well.
If you have already been diagnosed or suspect you have osteoporosis, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. There are plenty of medications that your doctor can prescribe to prevent it from becoming severe. Osteoporosis does not have to be a part of growing old. With proper diet, exercise, and medical check ups, you can combat the risks of Osteoporosis and ensure a better quality of life.