About 50 million people in India have osteoporosis. Most of the times, there are no signs of osteoporosis.The signs and symptoms appear in the later stages of the disease and include backache, loss of height over time, stooped posture and bone fracture that occurs easily. Most common fracture sites are wrist, spine, shoulder and hips.Osteoporosis can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices from childhood and continuing them throughout your adult life.
Here are 6 ways to prevent and delay the onset of osteoporosis:
1 . Exercise Regularly
-Get into the habit of a 30 minute moderate intensity exercise at least 4 times a week. Even those with osteoporosis can benefit by regular exercise.
-Make sure to include muscle strengthening exercises ( or resistance exercises that involve weights) and weight bearing exercises ( like jogging, brisk walking, stair climbing, sports). This helps in strengthening the muscles and joints.
2 . Eat Bone Healthy Diet
-Building strong bones is the best defense against osteoporosis.
-Calcium, Vitamin D, proteins and micro-nutrients are required for maintaining healthy bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
-Encourage children to drink milk and play in the sun to ensure adequate calcium, vitamin D synthesis and exercise.
-Include calcium rich foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, dried figs, broccoli, green vegetables, almonds and tofu.
-Spend 10-15 minutes in sun every day to help body produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D rich foods include egg, milk and oily fish.
-Have a protein rich diet which includes dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, lentils, beans and nuts.
-Have foods rich in vitamin K, magnesium, zinc and carotenoids. These include green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains, carrots, lean meat and pulses.
3 . Quit Unhealthy Habits
-Quit smoking. Smoking has been found to directly increase the risk of bone fracture by 29% and risk of hip fracture by 68%.
-Avoid consuming excessive alcohol. Restrict the intake to not more than 2 units of alcohol.
-Try and maintain an ideal weight for your height and age. Extremes of BMI are associated with increased risk of osteoporosis.
4 . Identify Your Risk Factors
-Be cautious and well informed about the risk factors that can make you prone to osteoporosis and fractures.It will help you seek timely medical intervention.
-Risk factors include women,a family history, small body frame, hypothyroidism, calcium and vitamin D deficiency, sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol intake, smoking, and certain medications (heparin, anti-seizure medications and long-term use of oral steroids).
5 . Get Screening Done
-Screening is recommended for women above 65 years and postmenopausal women below 65 years at risk for osteoporotic fractures
-Screening is done bone mineral density scan (X ray) called DEXA (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan.
-In patients with negative results, DEXA scan can be repeated every 2 years.
5 . Be Regular With Your Consultations
-In case you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, make sure you go for regular follow ups, get your scans done on time and stick to your medications.