Menopause Alert: How to Avoid Osteoporosis
When a woman reaches menopause, the level of estrogen production in her ovaries goes down. Due to the reduced estrogen production, a woman at menopause has high chances of developing bone problems like osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones. Due to the weakening of bones, the chances of unexpected fractures are generally much higher. In simple terms, osteoporosis means "porous bone.” It results in an increased loss of bone mass and strength. Osteoporosis often progresses without any symptoms or pain. Today, we have Ms. Sunita Pathania – Sr. Registered Dietician and Diabetes Educator, Healthy Living Diet Clinic, Mumbai, sharing some quick tips on how women can prevent osteoporosis during menopause.
Benefits of exercise during menopause
Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes. Exercising everyday will make your bones and muscles stronger and also help to prevent bone loss. It also helps you stay active, fit and mobile. Opt for weight-bearing exercises to prevent osteoporosis. Try simple weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, playing tennis and dancing. Besides these, try strength and balance exercises to prevent falls and hence decrease your chances of getting injured.
Eat foods high in calcium to avoid osteoporosis
Getting enough calcium throughout your life helps to build and keep strong bones. Doctors usually recommend 1,000 mg (milligrams) of calcium each day for adults who have a low-to-average risk of developing osteoporosis. For those at high risk of developing osteoporosis, such as post-menopausal women, the dose increases up to 1,500 mg each day. Excellent sources of calcium are milk and dairy products (low-fat versions are recommended), fish with bones like salmon and sardines, dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, fenugreek etc, broccoli, calcium-fortified cereals, ragi etc
Supplements during menopause
If you think you need to take in extra supplement to get enough calcium, then you should first check with your doctor. Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are good forms of calcium supplements. But, be careful not to get more than 2,000 mg of calcium a day. Higher amount of calcium in the body can also increase your chances of developing kidney stones. Hence, it is advisable that instead of taking one mega dose of the supplement, it is recommended to take it in two or three doses after meals for better absorption.
Vitamin D and menopause
Your body needs vitamin D in order to absorb calcium. In order to get adequate quota of vitamin D to your body, you should get a minimum of 20 minutes of sunlight - says Ms. Sunita. Besides bathing in the sun, opt for food products like eggs, fatty fish like salmon, cereal and milk fortified with vitamin D.
Women aged between 51 to 70 years should have at least 400-800 IU of vitamin D daily. More than 2,000 IU of vitamin D each day is not recommended because it may harm your kidneys and even lower bone mass.
Alcohol and menopause
Not just menopausal women, but every woman should quit smoking and drinking excessive alcohol – says Ms. Sunita. Alcohol and cigarette smoking reduces the estrogen level in your body, which further increases your risk of breaking bones after even minor falls.
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