Improving Bone Health in Midlife

Improving Bone Health in Midlife
Bones weaken with age in both men and women. Since menopause temporarily accelerates bone loss, women usually see the greatest decline in bone density in the years immediately after menopause. Because older bone cells break down faster than new ones are built, women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. 

There are important steps you can take – before menopause occurs – that will help boost bone health. 

Make bone health an early priority
Developing healthier habits early in life will help strengthen and maintain bone health during midlife and menopause. Remember, it’s never too late to start making bone health a priority. 

Exercise consistently
Adding weight-bearing exercises to your routine is important for maintaining bone density. Doing this early is best, but it is never too late to start walking, jogging, weightlifting or dancing to get those bones strong. Also include practicing strength and balance exercises regularly to help improve your balance.

Watch your diet
Everyone knows that milk is a good source of calcium, but there are many more ways to get calcium other than dairy products. Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, are high in calcium. Fish is also good for bone health. 

Since caffeine and salt can accelerate bone loss, limit your salt intake and drink caffeine in moderation. Too much caffeine can cause your body to excrete calcium more quickly. Alcohol can make it more difficult to absorb calcium. 

Vitamin D is found in sunlight, but also in fish, oysters and some fortified foods. It helps our bodies absorb calcium. Many women also learn they need supplements to help achieve their daily recommended dose of vitamin D. 

Learn about osteoporosis medications
There are many medications available to help increase bone strength, especially after menopause. Discuss the benefits of hormone replacement therapy or bisphosphonates with your doctor.

Reduce bone fracture risks
Reducing falls is very important in preventing bone fractures. Clutter in the home is a key cause for tripping and falling, especially in the elderly. Make sure your pathways are clear of cords and that your living area has ample lighting so you can see at night. 

Here’s to improving bone health!

Your partner in midlife wellness,
Dr. Laurie Back  
  • Laurie Birkholz, MD

    Laurie Birkholz, MD

    When Laurie Birkholz, MD, isn’t providing women’s health care at Lakeshore Health Partners, she enjoys the hiking trails and beaches in our community with husband, Eric, and their two daughters. Dr. Birkholz has a special interest in holistic health – focusing on all aspects of health-mind, body and spirit and their roles in continuing good health or returning to previous levels of health. From sexual health and cancer survivorship to nutrition and fitness counseling, Dr. Laurie helps women of all ages make their life a great life!

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    All blogs by Laurie Birkholz, MD

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