Osteoporosis is a disease of pediatrics manifested in geriatrics. The best
way to prevent osteoporosis is to ensure that children, teenagers and young
women get an adequate calcium intake...it's like putting money in the bank.
For premenopausal women this means getting 1200 mg calcium per day; postmenopausal
women need 1,500 mg per day whether or not they are taking estrogen. In women
with less than 20 minutes daily sun exposure, Vitamin D is also important.
Weight bearing exercise is vitally important to prevent bone loss and can even
help increase bone mass by 3-5% per year in those who didn't exercise before.
How much exercise is enough? Aim for 30 minutes of walking, jogging, dancing
or aerobics 3-5 times per week.
Prescription medicines also have a role in preventing osteoporosis. In younger
women birth control pills may help; in menopausal women, estrogen replacement
therapy is the gold standard. For women who can't or won't take estrogen, raloxifene
and alendronate offer reasonable prevention alternatives.
There's no age limit on when you can begin steps to prevent osteoporosis.
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Created: 10/24/2000  - Donnica Moore, M.D.