More than 25 million Americans suffer from or are at risk for osteoporosis, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Of this number, more than 300,000 are African-American women.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis means a 'porous' bone or bones that were once strong that have become brittle and are more likely to break. Everyday activities that were never given a second thought before, such as bending, lifting, and walking, can cause a bone fracture with osteoporosis.
Bone is living tissue. Special cells called 'osteoclasts' break down bone, replacing it with new tissue. As women age, bone is broken down faster than it is replaced. In some women, the rate of bone loss speeds up after menopause when a woman's estrogen level is lower. Without estrogen, the osteoclasts are removed, resulting in bone loss and osteoporosis.
- Too little exercise
- A diet low in calcium and vitamin D
- A small, thin body frame
- Cigarette smoking
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Long term use of certain medications (such as asthma, thyroid, and seizures)
- Alcohol abuse
- Estrogen deficiency, resulting from early menopause
|Get Your Exercise On|
- Before menopause, women between 19 and 50 need 1,00 mg of calcium per day. After menopause, women 51 and over need 1,200 mg of calcium a day.
- The best exercises for strong bones are weight bearing exercises. There include: walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, aerobics, cycling, and gardening.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking, and drank in moderation.