Can I prevent osteoporosis?
- Take exercise regularly, at least from the age of 35 onwards. Women who take regular weight-bearing exercise twice a week (and walking will do) have denser bones than women who take such exercise once a week, and in turn these women have denser bones than women who don’t exercise at all.
- Eat a calcium-rich diet. Dairy products, fish with bones (such as sardines) and dark green leafy vegetables are all good sources, so seek them out and keep a supply in the fridge.
- Consider HRT once you are menopausal. Taking oestrogen in combination with progestogen for 10-13 days a month seems to optimise bone health and prevent fractures. Talk to your doctor about the options available to you – HRT is available orally, in skin patches or skin gels, and there are more than 50 forms on the market so one should suit you. You need to take HRT for 5 years for your bones to benefit. Note that natural forms of HRT such as progesterone cream have never been shown to have any effect on osteoporosis.
Can I prevent fractures?
- Regular exercise and a balanced diet will add to your overall fitness and maintain mental alertness, lowering your chances of having a heavy fall.
- Going outdoors also increases the body’s natural supplies of vitamin D through exposure to the sun, which aids bone strength.
- Consider regular health checks with your doctor, and regular eye checks too.
- You should avoid sedatives, alcohol or anything else that’s likely to make you drowsy or impair your judgement.
- Reduce hazards in your home by fixing down loose carpets or rugs, coiling flexes out of the way, paying extra care when walking over slippery or uneven surfaces and fitting handrails to stairs and steps.