I think a lot of women are frightened about the prospect of developing certain diseases like maybe breast cancer or skin cancer. But I haven’t talked to too many women who have expressed concern about getting osteoporosis.
I used to be one of these women. Although I was dealing with all sorts of health issues from my hysterectomy, the idea that I’d someday be diagnosed with osteoporosis was not even a blip on my radar. Then I found out I had osteopenia, and all bets were off.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I think some women might think of osteoporosis as an “old lady” disease, like it’s something that might strike us when we’re in our 70s or 80s. I was diagnosed with osteopenia at 43, so I can tell you with all certainty that it’s time to change our way of thinking about this condition and give it the respect it deserves.
Actually, what we really need to respect more than anything is our amazing skeleton. How many of us are guilty of buying calcium tablets, but then forgetting to take them? Or of swearing to start exercising “soon,” but then that day never seems to come?
Since I had my osteopenia scare about five years ago, I’ve become determined to take really good care of my bones. I’ve researched and read up on the topic, and it seems that every reputable article and website about osteoporosis has these following suggestions in common:
1—If you smoke, please stop. In addition to all of the other unhealthy side effects linked to smoking, it has also been found to lead to bone deterioration.
2—Take a calcium supplement every day, but also try to eat calcium-rich foods as much as you can. I really believe that our bodies were designed so that we would eat food and absorb the nutrients that we need the most. Of course dairy products are full of calcium, but so are some fruits and vegetables, nuts, and dried beans.
3—Please get your hormone levels checked every year as part of your annual blood work. As I learned, if your levels are off, then your bones are paying the price. If you’re over 40, please also get an annual bone density exam.
4—Do weight-bearing exercises on a regular basis.