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Osteoporosis Facts

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Tips for Protecting Your Bones

Follow these steps for strong, healthy bones:

1. Know your risk factors for osteoporosis.

  • Female
  • Older age
  • Family or personal history of osteoporosis or broken bones
  • Small and thin body
  • Caucasian or Asian
  • A diet low in calcium and vitamin D
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Certain medications
  • Certain diseases or conditions such as Crohn's disease or anorexia nervosa

Take a risk factor quiz from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

2. Talk to your doctor.

  • If you have 1 or more risk factors, get a test to measure your bone density.
  • Repeat the test over time to see if your bone density has changed.

3. Get enough calcium each day.

Does my daughter need a supplement?

It's best for your daughter to get the 1,300 milligrams of calcium she needs every day from food. This will help her get the other nutrients she needs as well. However, if she is lactose intolerant or has difficulty getting the calcium she needs, her doctor may recommend a supplement.

4. Get your vitamin D.

  • Vitamin D helps the body use calcium.
  • Vitamin D is usually added to milk and can be found in fatty fish such as tuna (in oil), salmon, or mackerel. Many foods may be fortified with vitamin D, such as cereals, yogurt, and tofu. Sunlight is also a source of vitamin D.
  • Ask your doctor if you need a simple blood test that can tell if you are getting enough vitamin D or if you need a supplement. (See how much vitamin D is needed at every age.)

5. Work your bones.

It's best for your daughter to get the 1,300 milligrams of calcium she needs every day from food. This will help her get the other nutrients she needs as well. However, if she is lactose intolerant or has difficulty getting the calcium she needs, her doctor may recommend a supplement.

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