To get the most calcium in one’s diet, Gibstein says to focus on dairy products, especially vitamin D fortified ones; leafy green vegetables; seafood; nuts; and lean meats. His also an advocate for an exercise routine that involves working the body’s bones and muscles against gravity, low-impact aerobics, and daily intake of calcium and vitamin D supplements. Other good weight-bearing exercises include walking, jogging, tennis, stair climbing, weight-lifting and resistance exercises.
In regards to supplements, Gibstein advised elderly women, whose bone loss increases greatly following menopause, to take a greater amount of calcium each day compared to younger women. Women aged 35 to 40 should take 1200 milligrams of daily calcium from age 35 to 40 and following menopause should increase that amount to 1500 milligrams. Menopausal and post-menopausal women should also consume 200-600 international units of vitamin D each day – or receive 10-15 minutes of exposure to sunlight, which triggers production of vitamin D in our body’s skin.
Calcium supplements, according to Gibstein, are available in a variety of dosage and types of salts – carbonate, citrate, pantothenate, and phosphate. He claims there is no difference in efficacy among these types since calcium is absorbed into our blood as we sleep. Under the influence of the parathyroid hormone, most of our daily calcium should be consumed at night. In addition osteoporosis symptoms can be exacerbated by unhealthy lifestyle habits that include smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, sedentary habits, poor nutrition and various steroid and immunosuppressive medications.
Nearly 75 million baby boomers are approaching the age where osteoporosis is tightening its grip on their bones. Osteoporosis also contributes to an estimated 1.5 million bone fractures in the United States annually. According to information presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, new steps to manage bone health and increase communications will help reduce the rate of bone fractures among the aging population.
In one study, Leonid Kandel, an orthopedic surgeon at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Israel, examined improving the diagnosis rate of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women who suffer from fractures of the lower arm. Fracture of distal radius bone, located near the wrist, is often the first clinical symptom of osteoporosis, yet only 15 to 25 percent of these women are referred for a bone density test by a family physician after the fracture.
A second study performed at the University of Modena, Italy studied of a group of patients, 80 percent women and 20 percent men, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and lack of Vitamin D supplementation. The researchers discovered that women affected by rheumatoid arthritis for more than three years were at a much greater risk of fracture than those without the disease. Also, vitamin D therapy is not sufficient to prevent further bone loss and fragility among these patients. Men in the study with rheumatoid arthritis did not appear to have a greater risk of fracture.
Fractures, especially in adults, are usually an early warning sign that osteoporosis could be present. Most of these painful fractures occur at the hip, spine, wrist, arm, and leg, which often occur as the result of at a fall or a simple daily task. One in two women and one in five men over the age of 65 will suffer from bone fractures caused by osteoporosis.