According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, a bone disease in which the person affected loses too much bone, makes too little bone or both. Of that number, 80 percent are women.
Osteoporosis risk categories include (1) Women over age 50 (2) Post-menopausal women with decreased estrogen (3) Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking (4) Women who are lactose intolerant and must look for other ways to get calcium and (5) Sedentary lifestyle leading to decreased muscle tone, a contributor to weak bones.
An assessment of your calcium intake and risk factors by your doctor may lead to proactive recommendations such as a bone mineral density test. Your physician will use these results to determine bone strength and risk of bone fracture.
If you have a family history of osteoporosis or if you are in a risk category, it is a good idea to discuss osteoporosis with your doctor. To minimize the risk of developing osteoporosis, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends remaining as active as possible, avoiding smoking, and eating a diet high in calcium.