Everyone should be educated about osteoporosis. Why? Because osteoporosis affects women and men of all races. And those at higher risk of osteoporosis are Asian and white women, especially those who have already experienced menopause. For ourselves and for our loved ones, it’s important to learn about osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a type of bone disease that increases the risk of brittle and broken bones. Because bone is living tissue, it is constantly being replaced by new bone. When the body does not form enough new bone or when too much existing bone is reabsorbed by the body osteoporosis occurs. And if you have family members who have or have had osteoporosis, your chances may increase as osteoporosis is genetic.
Another factor related to osteoporosis is not having enough calcium and vitamin D to help build new bone tissue. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, here are the amounts of calcium you need every day.
Age 50 & younger need 1,000 mg* daily
Age 51 & older need 1,200 mg* daily
Age 70 & younger need 1,000 mg* daily
Age 71 & older need 1,200 mg* daily
*This includes the total amount of calcium you get from food and supplements.
And here are the amounts of vitamin D you need every day.
Women and Men
People under the age of 50 need 400-800 international units (IU) daily**
Age 50 & older need 800-1,000 IU daily**
**Some people need more vitamin D. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the safe upper limit of vitamin D is 4,000 IU daily for most adults.
Food sources for calcium include dairy products, some green vegetables, some juices, and breakfast foods. Food sources for vitamin D include fatty fish such as wild-caught mackerel, salmon, and tuna, as well as milk and other dairy products, orange juice, and cereals that have had vitamin D added to them.
Symptoms of osteoporosis include back pain, bone fractures that happen easily, and a hunched back. Lifestyle suggestions that may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis include not smoking, reducing excessive alcohol consumption, wearing shoes that reduce the risk of falls, fall-proofing your home, exercising, and making sure that you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D.
If you suspect you may have osteoporosis, you should see your doctor so that he or she can make an accurate diagnosis.