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Health Issues

Osteoporosis

Prevention

The following measures can greatly reduce your risk of osteoporosis.If you already have osteoporosis, these steps can help prevent your bonesfrom becoming weaker. In some cases you may even be able to replace boneyou've lost. Click hereto take a One Minute Test.

Nutrition. The foods we eat contain a variety of vitamins,minerals, and other important nutrients that help keep our bodies healthy.All of these nutrients are needed in a balanced proportion. In particular,calcium and vitamin D are needed for strong bones as well as for yourheart, muscles, and nerves to function properly. (See Prevention sectionfor recommended amounts of calcium.)

Exercise. Exercise is an important component of an osteoporosisprevention and treatment program. Exercise not only improves your bonehealth, but it increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance andleads to better overall health. While exercise is good for someone withosteoporosis, it should not put any sudden or excessive strain on yourbones. Asextra insurance against fractures, your doctor can recommendspecific exercises to strengthen and support your back.

Consider hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacementtherapy can reduce a woman's risk of osteoporosis during and after menopause.But because of the risk of side effects, discuss the options with yourdoctor and decide what's best for you.

Don't smoke. Smoking increases bone loss, perhaps bydecreasing the amount of estrogen a woman's body makes and by reducingthe absorption of calcium in your intestine. The effects on bone of secondhandsmoke aren't yet known.

Avoid excessive alcohol. Consuming more than two alcoholicdrinks a day may decrease bone formation and reduce your body's abilityto absorb calcium. There's no clear link between moderate alcohol intakeand osteoporosis.

Limit caffeine. Moderate caffeine consumption —about two to three cups of coffee a day — won't harm you as longas your diet contains adequate calcium.