IN Australia, about 2.2 million Australians suffer from osteoporosis, with 11% of men and 27% of women aged 60 and over affected by this silent killer.
It is considered silent, because most people do not know they have the disease until after a major fall or fracture causes it to be detected.
After the age of 45, a number of dietary and lifestyle tips should be considered to help prevent the chances of developing osteoporosis.
Getting enough vitamin D is important, and this is readily available via sunlight in our mostly beautiful weather on the Sunshine Coast. Just being outdoors for 20 to 30 minutes each day will provide you with enough exposure to sunlight to maintain the production of vitamin D.
But to greatly reduce your chances of osteoporosis, you also need to avoid cigarette smoking, because smoking lowers levels of oestrogen and bone mineral density. Smokers suffer more fractures than non-smokers.
Regular exercise will help a lot, particularly if it involves weight-bearing and resistance exercises.
These include lifting weights or resistance training, such as jumping or using weights while walking.
You should also reduce your levels of soft drink consumption.
Soft drinks contain high levels of phosphorus, which binds with calcium to make less calcium available to build healthy bones.
Lastly, consider your acid-alkaline balance in your food and drink intake and try to adopt a Mediterranean diet which has a variety of other health benefits.
Making these small changes in what you do and eat will lead to a healthier lifestyle and significantly reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis.
Professor John B Lowe is the head of the School of Health and Sport Sciences at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
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