Having your bones deteriorate from osteoporosis is a scary thought, but preventing osteoporosis doesn't have to be difficult.
Step 1: Get educated Learn if you're at risk. Women are four times as likely to get osteoporosis than men, but men can still get it.
Step 2: Get plenty of calcium Get enough calcium. Recommended daily intakes are: 800 milligrams for children, 1,300 milligrams for teens, 1,000 milligrams for adults up to age 50, and 1,200 milligrams for people 51 and over. Calcium helps our bones stay strong.
TIP: Good sources of calcium include dairy, sardines, fortified juice and cereal, and leafy greens.
Step 3: Take supplements If you can't get enough calcium through your diet, take supplements. Be aware, however, that your body can only absorb about 500 milligrams of calcium at a time.
Step 4: Get vitamin D Get enough vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Children, teens, and adults up to age 50 need 200 international units per day, while older adults need 400 to 600. You can get vitamin D through sun exposure and certain foods.
TIP: Foods high in vitamin D include salmon, tuna, mackerel, egg yolks, and fortified milk, juice, and cereal.
Step 5: Get lots of exercise Exercise regularly. Weight-bearing physical activity is especially important, such as walking, jogging, tennis, and dancing.
Step 6: Get tested As you age, get your bone density tested. Even if you do everything right, genetics also play a role, and early diagnosis is always best.
FACT: The term osteoporosis was coined by French pathologist Jean Lobstein.