Eating right and exercising may help prevent osteoporosis

In honor of World Osteoporosis Day, which is October 20, Highmark - a health insurance agency - has released a list of tips for keeping bones healthy and preventing potentially fatal fractures.

Eating right is one of the most important ways to improve bone strength, as a diet with enough calcium and vitamin D can help keep bones strong. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, adults over 50 need 1200 mg of calcium and 800-1000 international units of vitamin D per day. Low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, canned fish, dark green leafy vegetables, soybeans, eggs, cereal and fortified milk are good sources of calcium.

Getting plenty of exercise is also crucial, since bone is living tissue that gets stronger by exercising regularly. Adults who cannot get to a fitness center may want to ask their doctor what exercises to try at home.

People who are concerned that they may be at risk for osteoporosis can ask their primary care physician about a bone mineral density test. It is painless and may be the best way to determine bone health. Additionally, it can identify osteoporosis, determine risk for fractures and measure responses to treatment.

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