If you’re a woman, chances are you have been hearing for years about the importance of calcium in your diet as a means of fighting off osteoporosis when you get older. But, like a lot of women, the chances are also pretty high that you blew this advice off thinking “I’ll worry about that later.” Unfortunately, sometimes “later” has a habit of sneaking up on you and then you are left with a serious health problem and you are dealing with the ramifications of your earlier life decisions. If you are worried about developing osteoporosis as you get older, here are tips to follow (http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/osteoporosis-prevention). Just remember, it’s never too late to start.

What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a thinning of the bones that make them more brittle and fragile. Because of this condition, painful breaks and fractures are more common and also more dangerous. A fall that might have left a simple bump or bruise when you were in your twenties can now result in a shattered bone that will require surgery to repair.

How to find out if you have osteoporosis?
A bone density scan is the quickest and easiest way of determining if you have osteoporosis or if your bones have just started to get thinner. This is a ten-minute procedure that is ultimately a special type of x-ray. It will test a sample of your bones to determine if they are thinner than they should be.

How to avoid osteoporosis?
There are several steps that you can do to avoid osteoporosis. They include:

  • Get calcium in your diet—Milk and cheese are great sources of calcium, which you need to help build healthier, stronger bones. If you have a genetic predisposition for osteoporosis, it is also probably a good idea to augment this diet with calcium supplements.
  • Exercise—Exercise such as strength training encourages bones to develop stronger as a preventative against later bone thinning. It also helps you to have better general health and improve flexibility which can be a bonus should you fall when you are older.
  • Avoid sodas, alcohol, and cigarettes—Besides all of the other problems that they can cause with your health, all three of these can affect your bone thickness and lead to osteoporosis.
  • Take care of yourself—There has also been a connection between women with eating disorders and osteoporosis. One theory behind this is that a severe eating disorder may throw your body’s regularity out of sync. If you don’t have, for example, regular menstrual periods then your level of estrogen is lower and it can help lead to a higher chance of osteoporosis.