Preventing osteoporosis at a young age - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Preventing osteoporosis at a young age

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Doctors recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Doctors recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.

An estimated ten million Americans have the bone condition osteoporosis.  It puts people at risk of fractures from falls because of weak bones.  There are things you can do in your younger years to prevent it down the road.

Osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become significantly weaker, predominantly affects women after menopause, but doctors say don't wait until you're older to think about your bone health.

"People should recognize that bone is living tissue and during teenage years and young adulthood, we're actually in a phase of building bone," Dr. Patrick Bowen, an Endocrinologist with Emory University.  

Experts say healthy lifestyle choices in your younger years are essential for strong bones in both men and women.  Those include not smoking and limiting your alcohol.  Weight training and weight-bearing exercises protect your skeleton and improve balance, too.

"Exercises like jogging, jumping rope, playing tennis, or hiking would be best for bone health," says Dr. Bowen.

Doctors recommend 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day and 400 to 800 international units of vitamin D.  This can come from a combination of foods and supplements, but they say foods are the best source of calcium.  This includes low-fat dairy, green vegetables and nuts.

Doctors say starting good habits when you are young can protect your bones for a lifetime.

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