Osteoporosis ("porous bones") is by far the most common bone disease, marked by an increased risk of bone fractures due to weak or thin bones. Although it is often equated with postmenopausal women, men aren't safe from osteoporosis either. According to a 2012 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4 percent of men over 50 years of age have the bone disease, and 38 percent of men in that age group have a condition called low bone mass (often a precursor to osteoporosis).
What's more, research suggests that one out of five men over 50 years old get at least one bone fracture in their lives. And though fractures are less common in men (about half of women over 50 are expected to get a bone fracture), the outcomes of their fractures are more serious. "The mortality from fractures is higher in men," says Dr. René Rizzoli, head of the Division of Bone Diseases at Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland.
Osteoporosis and bone fractures don't have to be a part of the aging process – they can usually be prevented with certain lifestyle changes. Here are 10 simple tips to keep your bones healthy and strong.
Eat A Calcium-Rich Diet
Calcium is a vital mineral that provides structural strength to bones (and teeth). It also helps with various bodily functions, such as blood clotting and muscle contracting. But our bodies don't produce calcium, and the mineral is constantly being lost through our skin, nails, sweat, urine and feces. If these calcium stores aren't replenished, the body starts taking the calcium it needs from bones.
"It's recommended that you get about 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day, which ideally should come from your diet," says Dr. Michael Lewiecki of the New Mexico Clinical Research & Osteoporosis Center. There are a number of foods that can provide you with calcium, including dairy, sardines, salmon and various green vegetables, such as collard greens, kale, and broccoli, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Additionally, various products are now fortified with calcium, including oatmeal, cereal, orange juice, and soymilk, says Dr. Lewiecki.
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