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What is it?

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak and brittle due to loss of bone density. This can lead to osteoporotic fractures, which often occur in the hip, spine, or wrist. Over time, osteoporosis may cause bones to fracture easily even from a slight bump or fall. In severe cases, osteoporosis can lead to a loss of height, hunched posture, and chronic pain.

How often does it happen?

Osteoporosis affects an estimated ten million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. In fact, osteoporosis is responsible for more than two million broken bones every year in the United States alone. Additionally, osteoporosis has been linked to increased mortality rates and may even increase a person’s risk of developing certain conditions such as dementia.

Who is at risk?

While osteoporosis can affect anyone, certain factors can increase an individual’s risk. These include advanced age, female gender, low body weight, inadequate calcium, and vitamin D intake, smoking cigarettes or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, use of certain medications and/or a family history of osteoporosis.

How to prevent or treat osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis can be prevented or managed through lifestyle modifications such as diet, weight-bearing exercise, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake. Additionally, medications may be prescribed to aid in the prevention or management of osteoporosis. These medications work by promoting bone growth, slowing bone breakdown and/or reducing inflammation. It is also important to get enough calcium and vitamin D through foods or supplements. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about osteoporosis prevention or treatment.

What can I eat to manage osteoporosis?

In addition to taking medications and making lifestyle changes, osteoporosis can be managed through dietary changes. Calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, legumes, and nuts are important for maintaining strong bones. Vitamin D is needed for osteoporosis prevention and can be found in fortified milk, fatty fish, mushrooms, and egg yolks. Additionally, eating foods that contain magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and boron can help maintain healthy bones.

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