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Bone Up on Your Skeletal Health
You may have heard about popular bone-building medications like Fosamax, Boniva and Atelvia, and you may have figured that, because they're prescribed to many women with osteoporosis (your mom, your aunt, some of your coworkers), they'll be your back-up plan should you, too, have problems with your bones. But while these bisphosphonates have been shown to be effective in reducing fractures in women with osteoporosis, they’ve also been connected to abnormal fractures in the femur as well as a rare disease in the jaw bone. In response to concern of the long-term safety of bisphosphonates, the F.D.A. recently issued a staff report, and asked two panels to review the drugs and make recommendations. The takeaway is that because these oral medications can be stored in the bones, the F.D.A. said that women can safely stop taking them after five years--and in fact, it might not be a bad idea to do so.
Strong, dense bones could help you avoid this type of medication altogether -- as well as the complicated cautions and advisories. Here are 4 drug-free ways to strengthen your skeleton:
1. Because the rate of fractures increases in those who don't get enough calcium, eat plenty of dairy, spinach, tofu and almonds. Use calcium supplements with Vitamin D to bring you up to a total of 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
2. Make sure your workouts include weight-bearing exercises like strength training, jogging, tennis and hiking (especially with the weight of a pack) stimulate bone growth. (When hitting the trail, avoid these 7 hiking mistakes)
3. Think about also taking up yoga, which improves balance and can increase mineral density in the spine. (Try Dr. Oz's morning yoga routine)
4. Give yourself one more reason to give up cigarettes and boozy nights out: Smoking and heavy drinking increase the risk of osteoporosis.
What one calcium-aholic learned about supplements
How to spot osteoporosis symptoms
More ways to bolster your bones
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.