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Osteoporosis Prevention

Osteoporosis is a disease of pediatrics that shows up in geriatrics. The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to ensure that children, teenagers, and young women get an adequate calcium intake. It's like putting money in the bank.† For premenopausal women, this means getting 1200 mg calcium per day; after menopause women need 1,500 mg per day whether or not they are taking estrogen. [In women with less than 20 minutes daily sun exposure, Vitamin D supplements are also important].† Weight-bearing exercise can prevent bone loss and can even help increase bone mass by 3-5% per year in those who didn't exercise before.† How much exercise is enough?† Aim for 30 minutes of walking, jogging, dancing, or aerobics 3-5 times per week.

Prescription medicines also have a role in preventing osteoporosis.† In younger women, birth control pills may help; in menopausal women, estrogen therapy is the gold standard.† For women who can't or won't take estrogen, raloxifene and alendronate offer reasonable prevention alternatives.

There's no age limit to when you can begin to prevent osteoporosis.

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Created: 5/16/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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