Calcium, Vitamin D, healthy lifestyle and physical activity are important to prevent osteoporosis and reduce falls that can result in fractures.
There have been fewer research studies on osteoporosis in men than in women. However, experts agree that all people should take the following steps to preserve their bone health:
- Avoid smoking, reduce alcohol intake, and increase your level of physical activity.
- Ensure a daily calcium intake that is adequate for your age.
- Ensure an adequate intake of vitamin D. Normally, the body makes enough vitamin D from exposure to as little as 10 minutes of sunlight a day. If exposure to sunlight is inadequate, dietary vitamin D intake should be between 200 and 600 IU (International Units) per day (see table below). The amount of vitamin D found in 1 quart of fortified milk and most multivitamins is 400 IU.
- Engage in a regular regimen of weight-bearing exercises in which bones and muscles work against gravity. This might include walking, jogging, racquet sports, climbing stairs, team sports, weight training, and using resistance machines. A doctor should evaluate the exercise program of anyone already diagnosed with osteoporosis to determine if twisting motions and impact activities, such as those used in golf, tennis, or basketball, need to be curtailed.
- Discuss with your doctor the use of medications that are known to cause bone loss, such as glucocorticoids.
- Recognize and seek treatment for any underlying medical conditions that affect bone health.
Recommendations for Calcium and Vitamin D Intake
(Source: National Academy of Sciences, 1997)
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