Medical Questions » Bones Questions » Question No. 151
Question:How can I stop myself from getting osteoporosis? My mother was severely affected.
Answer:Before menopause—cheese, milk and yoghurt. After menopause—these foods plus hormone supplements. Osteoporosis is due to a gradual loss of calcium from the bones in women after the change of life. The female sex hormones play a part in maintaining the concentration of calcium in bones, and as these drop after menopause, so does the calcium concentration of bone. This makes the bones soft, and with time they will bend, and with any injury will break easily. By building up the amount of calcium in your body before menopause (and this should be done from 30 years of age onwards) you will have more to spare at an older age. Once you reach the change, your doctor can prescribe hormones that will not only control the hot flushes and irregular periods, but maintain the calcium balance of your bones. The tendency to develop osteoporosis does run in families, and if your mother or grandmother was affected, it is wise to take these precautions. Most dairy marketers now produce a calcium-enriched milk (called ' Shape' in most markets) but all dairy products, and particularly cheese, are rich in calcium. Tablets containing calcium are also readily available. If osteoporosis does develop, there are now sophisticated, but expensive, medications that can be given long term to prevent further deterioration, and reverse the thinning of the bones.
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