Most adults with
osteoporosis need to take medicine to slow bone loss.
In addition to medicine, there is much you can do to help slow the process and
prevent broken bones:
Get enough calcium and vitamin D. Getting enough
vitamin D, along with sufficient calcium, is one of the first steps toward
preventing or reducing the effects of osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps your body
absorb calcium. Calcium is found in many foods, including dairy products such as milk
or yogurt. If you think you may not be getting enough calcium in your diet, check with your doctor about taking
calcium supplements. For
more information, see:
Exercise. Recent studies show that
weight-bearing exercises (walking, jogging, stair
climbing, dancing, or weight lifting), aerobics, and
resistance exercises (using weights or elastic bands
to help improve muscle strength) are all effective in increasing the bone
mineral density and strength of the spine in postmenopausal women. Walking also
increases bone mineral density of the hip. Regular
exercise throughout life cuts in half the number of hip fractures in older
people.10 Create an exercise program that fits your
lifestyle and is easy to follow. For more information, see the topic
Eat nutritious foods to keep
your body healthy. For more information, see the topic
steps to prevent falls that might result in broken bones. Have your vision and
hearing checked regularly. And wear slippers or shoes that have nonskid soles.
Exercises that improve balance and coordination, such as
tai chi, can also reduce your risk of falling. You can also make changes in
your home to prevent falls. For more information, see:
Limit alcohol use.
Heavy alcohol use can decrease bone formation, and it
clearly increases the risk of falling. Heavy alcohol use is more than 2 drinks
a day for men and more than 1 drink a day for women. See pictures of standard alcoholic drinks.
Stop smoking. Smoking reduces your bone density
and speeds up the rate of bone loss. For information on how to stop, see the
If you need calcium supplements, experts recommend that you choose calcium supplements that
are known brand names with proven reliability. Most brand-name calcium products
are absorbed easily by the body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
has taken action against companies that tout the benefits of coral calcium as a
superior source of calcium and a cure for disease. There is no scientific
proof to support these claims.