Osteoporosis Prevention: What You Need to Know
What Else Prevents Osteoporosis?
Don’t drink too much alcohol. Having more than two drinks per day is linked to higher chances of bone loss.
Quit smoking. It doubles the chance of bone loss and fractures by keeping the hormone estrogen in your body from working well.
Avoid the “female athlete triad.” Women who exercise and train intensely can have three issues -- thin bones, lack of a menstrual cycle, and eating disorders. It often happens to young women who stick to very restrictive diets even though they work out a lot. Athletes who have problems with their periods have lower estrogen levels. This often leads to lower bone mass.
Drink less soda. Some findings show that colas, more than other carbonated soft drinks, lead to bone loss. It may be that the extra phosphorus in them keeps your body from absorbing calcium. Or it may just be that women are replacing calcium-rich drinks, such as milk, with soda.
Will Medicine Prevent Osteoporosis and Fractures?
Some drugs can help the body maintain or build bone. Doctors often prescribe them for people, especially women, who have higher chances of getting osteoporosis or bone fractures. Ask your doctor if these drugs are a good idea for you.
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
A bone density test measures a small part of one or a few bones to see how strong they are and can tell how likely you are to have osteoporosis. The most common one is called a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) scan. It uses a small amount of radiation to measure your bone density.
But the scan isn’t right for everyone. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says people who should get DXA scans for bone density include:
- Women ages 65 or older
- Younger women who have a higher-than-normal chance of fracture for their age
Talk to your doctor about whether the test is a good idea for you.