Bone and Joint Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about bone and joint health for women.

What should younger women be doing now to reduce their risk of developing osteoporosis later in life?

It is very important for younger women to focus on bone health because building strong bones at an early age can help prevent bone weakening later in life, according to the National Osteoporosis FoundationOff Site Icon (NOF).

The NOF suggests keeping bones healthy and strong by:

  • Avoiding smoking
  • Consume enough calcium and vitamin D, including food and supplements
  • Do not drink alcohol in excess
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on weight-bearing and strength training exercise
  • Have a bone density test (for people over 50)
  • Talk with your physician about your bone health

While exercise and being active are beneficial to bone health, it is important not to overdo it, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH).

Women who exercise too much, who have very strict weight loss diets, and who focus on being very thin rather than fit are putting themselves at risk of health problems, including bone problems, according to the NIH.

Behaviors that put someone at risk for bone loss, according to the NIH, include:

  • Extreme thinness
  • Frequent dieting, including eating very little and a focus on low-calorie foods
  • Ignoring sickness, injury, bad weather and more in order to exercise
  • Intense, frequent exercise
  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Obsessive focus on exercise
  • Rapid weight loss

If you recognize some of these behaviors in yourself, you can choose to eat a more healthy diet that includes enough calories to support your activity level, according to the NIH. It is important to find that balance between food and exercise.

Talk to your doctor for more information about what you can do.

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Source: Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center; Jennifer Smail, MD, Pledger Orthopaedic Spine Center and Associates

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