What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak and can easily break. It is a common bone disease among older adults and can cause a number of serious health problems. Osteoporosis is caused by a lack of calcium in the bones, which leads to a decrease in bone density and an increased risk of fractures. The most common symptom of osteoporosis is bone pain or tenderness, but other symptoms may include loss of height, stooped posture, and an increased risk of fracture.
Who is at Risk for Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is more common in women than men, as women naturally have less bone mass than men. People with a family history of osteoporosis are also more likely to develop the condition. Other factors that can increase the risk of osteoporosis include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being physically inactive, and taking certain medications, such as steroids.
How Much Calcium Does a Person With Osteoporosis Need?
Adults aged 50 and over should get at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day to help prevent or manage osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis may need to take more calcium, typically between 1,200 and 1,500 mg per day. This amount should be divided into two or three daily doses for optimal absorption. If you are taking calcium supplements, it is important to take a vitamin D supplement as well, as vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.
What Foods Contain Calcium?
There are many different types of foods that contain calcium. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are some of the best sources of calcium. Other sources include dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, fortified cereals and juices, canned fish, and almonds. Some calcium-fortified products, such as orange juice and soy milk, can also be good sources of calcium.
What Else Can Help Manage Osteoporosis?
In addition to getting enough calcium, there are several other things that can help manage osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures. Regular weight-bearing exercise can help keep bones strong and reduce the risk of falls. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough vitamin D, and quitting smoking can also help. Your doctor may also recommend taking certain medications, such as bisphosphonates or calcitonin, to help reduce the risk of fractures.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you are at risk for osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about getting a bone density test. A bone density test can help determine if you have osteoporosis and can also help your doctor monitor your condition. If you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, be sure to talk to your doctor about how much calcium you should be taking and any other lifestyle changes that can help you manage the condition.
Osteoporosis is a serious condition that can lead to an increased risk of fractures. Getting enough calcium is an important part of managing osteoporosis, as calcium helps keep bones strong and reduces the risk of fractures. Adults aged 50 and over should get at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day and people with osteoporosis may need to take more. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can also help manage osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures. If you are at risk for osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about getting a bone density test.