Get a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test if you’re over the age of 65. If you’re over 50 years with any risk factors, then talk to your doctor about having a BMD test done earlier.
Follow a healthy diet according to Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. Eat vegetables or fruit at every meal and snack, and eat enough protein throughout the day.
Drink at least two cups (500 ml) of skim, 1% of 2% milk every day. Then, have one more serving of Milk and Alternatives from Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. Drink fortified soy beverages if you don’t drink milk.
Use Osteoporosis Calcium Calculator to see whether you’re getting enough calcium. If you don’t think you’re getting enough calcium, then consider taking a calcium supplement. To learn more about choosing a calcium supplement, see Calcium Supplements.
Take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. In addition to drinking two cups (500 ml) of low fat milk every day, you still more vitamin D. According to Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, everyone over the age of 50 is advised to take a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms (400 IU).
Find out if you need a vitamin B12 supplement. Talk to your dietitian or doctor.
Avoid too much caffeine. Any more than four small cups of coffee a day may be too much.
Be active every day. Activity keeps the bones strong. Weight-bearing activities are best, such as walking, hiking, dancing and tennis. Improve your balance and coordination by practising yoga, tai chi or other similar types of activities. For more activity ideas, seeCanada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living for Older Adults. Talk to your doctor first before starting any new exercise program.
Don’t smoke. Smokers have faster rates of bone loss and a higher risk of fractures than non-smokers. Women who smoke also tend to enter menopause at an earlier age than non-smokers. This means that the faster rate of bone loss will start at an earlier age.
Prevent falls. This is especially important if you already have osteoporosis or have risk factors for the disease. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes. When walking, watch out for uneven ground, sidewalks or floors. Don’t hurry to catch the bus or to answer the phone or doorbell. Keep your house safe inside and outside to prevent accidents and falls.