Osteoporosis is a condition which causes reduced bone density and increases susceptibility to fracture (breaking a bone). It is more common in women due to bone loss occurring more rapidly after menopause. The likelihood of having osteoporosis increases if you:
- Have ever broken a bone following a minor bump or fall (over the age of 50)
- Have a low BMI
- Have a family history of osteoporosis or hip fracture
- Are a current smoker or drink more than 3 units of alcohol per day
- Have taken oral corticosteroids (e.g. Prednisolone) for more than 3 months
- Have a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Have Type I diabetes, untreated hyperthyroidism, chronic malnutrition/ malabsorption, chronic liver disease
- Have gone through a premature menopause (<45 years) without taking HRT
If you have broken a bone after a minor bump or fall and haven’t discussed your bone health with another professional, it is important to see your GP so your bone health can be assessed. Diet and lifestyle changes can help to keep your bones as strong as possible, regardless of whether you have osteoporosis or not:
- Stop smoking as this can damage the bone building cells in your body
- Keep your alcohol intake low — excessive alcohol can destroy bones and make you unsteady
- Try to take some sort of weight bearing exercise
- If you have not broken a bone before, exercise which encourages moderate impact as jogging, jumping, stamping would be beneficial.
- If you have had a previous fracture or are diagnosed with osteoporosis, The Royal Osteoporosis Society can guide you as to which exercises may be suitable for you. Alternatively speak to your physiotherapist
- Ensure your Vitamin D intake is sufficient. We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight and most people in the UK get enough vitamin D by spending 15 minutes in the sun three times a week. It is recommended to take Vit D supplements, particularly over the winter months or if you do not go outdoors. These are available in supermarkets or pharmacies
- Ensure you include plenty of calcium in your diet (1000mg a day)
- if you eat all of the below you will achieve 1000mg calcium:
- 2 whole grain bread,
- 2 slices of gouda, edam or emmental cheese,
- 1 serving of broccoli,
- 2 glasses of mineral water, and.
- 1 pot of yoghurt (200 g).