When I was 15 and diagnosed with a milk allergy1, I remember my mother being concerned about my calcium intake once I couldn’t drink milk every day. I wasn’t all that concerned. But I did notice a lot more broccoli on the table after that.
Now that I’m 40, of course, it makes sense to me. You only get so much time to build up your bone strength, and then it’s all downhill from there. If I’m lucky right now, my bones are static, making the same amount of bone cells that I’m losing. But sooner rather than later, I’ll be losing more than my body makes. I can only hope that there’s enough bone density to keep me strong into my old age.
Thankfully, there are ways to reduce your chances of developing the disease, or diminishing its effects. Read on for a few tips on what to do now AND later to ensure your bone health.
What is osteoporosis? Can it be prevented?
As we age, our bodies are not as healthy as they were when we were younger. Muscles are slower to react. Joints are not as fluid as before. And bones are weaker than they were in our youth.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease most commonly found in older women, particularly those of Caucasian or Asian descent. Literally translated as “porous bone,” osteoporosis happens when bone density has decreased and the bones have become brittle. Unfortunately, the early symptoms of osteoporosis are easy to miss, like back pain or stooped posture. This is why most people don’t find out that they have the disease until they break a bone.
Your bones are constantly changing and creating new bone cells. When you’re younger and growing, your body creates more bone than it loses. This shifts as we reach our mid-20s, when our bodies slow down the process and we’ve reached our peak bone mass, or bone thickness.
1 Let’s be clear here: dairy allergy ≠ lactose intolerance. Two different things.