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Osteoporosis Health Center

Asthma and Osteoporosis

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The Connection Between Asthma and Osteoporosis continued...

Many asthma sufferers think that milk and dairy products trigger asthmatic attacks, although the evidence shows that this is only likely to be true if the person has a dairy allergy. This unnecessary avoidance of calcium-rich dairy products can be especially damaging for children with asthma who need calcium to build strong bones.

Since exercise often can trigger an asthma attack, many people with asthma avoid weight-bearing physical activities that are known to strengthen bone. Those people who remain physically active often choose swimming as their first exercise of choice because it is less likely than other activities to trigger an asthmatic attack. Unfortunately, swimming does not have the same beneficial impact on bone health as weight-bearing exercises that work the body against gravity. These exercises include walking, jogging, racquet sports, basketball, volleyball, aerobics, dancing, and lifting weights.

Osteoporosis Management Strategies

Strategies to prevent and treat osteoporosis in people with asthma are not significantly different from the strategies for those who do not have the disease.

Nutrition: A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important for healthy bones. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products; dark green, leafy vegetables; and calcium-fortified foods and beverages. Also, supplements can help ensure that the calcium requirement is met each day, especially in those with a proven milk allergy.

Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health. It is made in the skin through exposure to sunlight. While many people are able to obtain enough vitamin D naturally and/or from fortified foods, some individuals may require vitamin D supplements in order to ensure an adequate daily intake.

Exercise: Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best kind of activity for your bones is weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity. Some examples include walking, climbing stairs, lifting weights, and dancing.

People who experience exercise-induced asthma should exercise in an environmentally controlled facility and participate in activities that fall within their limitations. They may also use medication when necessary to enable them to exercise.

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