Osteoporosis is multi factorial genetics, other concurrent disease, medications and lifestyle all play a part. Reducing the risk of osteoporosis is about making good lifestyle choices at each life stage. This means a healthy diet, not smoking and regular weight bearing exercise throughout life.
During growth and development it is important to have an adequate diet in all nutrients as there are a number of nutrients ( energy, protein, vitamin D, calcium to mention a few) required for bone health and to achieve a high bone mineral density (BMD). Adequate dietary calcium through the age of skeletal maturation with weight bearing exercise is very important. Having a high BMD at this time means it is less likely that osteoporosis will occur later in life.
After this time the aim is to maintain as much of this bone health as possible by not smoking, continuing to eat a healthy diet with adequate calcium, regular weight bearing exercise throughout life. Fracture usually occurs in menopausal women or when testosterone becomes lower in men. As bone development and loss is related to hormones oestrogen and testosterone. When these hormones are lower at the later life stage BMD will always decline but hopefully to levels which does not cause fracture because a high BMD has been achieved in youth. Disordered eating that affects menstrual function in women will affect bone health.
The amount of calcium required changes at each life stage as the role changes from building bone, maintaining bone then reducing bone loss.
Adequate vitamin D is required at each life stage and is important and our best source is the sun.
Adequate protein but not excessive protein intake is also important to maintain muscle strength and agility to prevent falls, as osteoporosis is only a problem when people fall and break bones.
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