Everyone’s bones lose density after age 40. In women, menopause accelerates the loss, especially if they’re thin or small-boned, have red or blond hair, or have never had any children. Smoking, a sedentary life, taking corticosteroids, and eating too few-containing foods also increase the risk. And the earlier you reach menopause, the higher the risk.
Women who have a family history of osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, and certain forms of bone cancer are also at risk.
To prevent or slow osteoporosis, take these steps:
- Be sure your diet includes a minimum of 1,000 milligrams a day of calcium (if you are premenopausal) or 1,500 milligrams a day (if you’re menopausal). High-calcium foods include: low-fat dairy products, beans, bean sprouts, soybean curd, broccoli, kale, and sunflower seeds.
- Cut back on sodium and salt.
- Begin a program of regular, weight-bearing exercise like walking, jogging, biking, or low-impact or non-impact aerobics.