Signs and Symptoms
1. A broken bone (sometimes the first symptoms), commonly in the spine, hip, ribs, or wrist.
2. Becoming round-shouldered and stooped; loss of height (usually after the age of 70).
3. Severe backache.
What to do now
1. Diagnose the problem.
2. For backache take pain relievers.
3. Try regular, gentle exercise such as walking every day. But avoid spine-jarring activities such as high-impact aerobics.
4. Prevent falls: Install handrails on stairs, and grab bars in the bathroom. Cover slippery floors with carpet, rubber mats. Use bright lamps and night-lights.
When to call a doctor
1. If you fracture a bone.
2. If you have unexpected, persistent pain in your back, ribs, spine, or feet.
3. If you have a backache or are developing a curved back.
How to prevent it
1. Get enough exercise. Women past menopause who don’t exercise are at higher risk than those who do. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking and dancing, stimulates bone-building cells and helps keeps osteoporosis from developing.
2. Get enough calcium from your diet. Foods high in calcium include milk products, leafy green vegetables, and almonds. People at risk for osteoporosis should get 1.5000 milligrams of calcium per day; others should get, 1,000mg per day.
3. If you take over-the-counter calcium supplements be aware that they vary; calcium carbonate contains the most usable calcium (look for the amount of elemental calcium listed on the bottle). Also look at labels for phrases such as “Made to USP quality, purity, and potency standards” or “laboratory tested to dissolve within 60 minutes.” That means the calcium will be easily absorbed by your body. Take supplements with meals, no more than 500 mg at a time. Drink eight to ten glasses of water each day to prevent constipation and decrease the slight risk of developing kidney stones. (If you have a history of kidney stones, consult your doctor about calcium supplements.)
4. Try to gain a little weight if you’re under weight; being too thin may decrease bone density and increase your risk.
5. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, which are associated with osteoporosis.
6. Get some sun. The vitamin D in sunshine builds bones by increasing the body’s calcium absorption.
7. Drink enough milk – another good source of vitamin D; or ask your doctor if you should take vitamin D supplements.