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Q: What is osteoporosis, and what can I do to prevent it?

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a person's bones to become less dense over time, which increases the risk of fractures. It's caused when your body doesn't make new bone cells fast enough to replace old ones as they break down. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it's most common in women past menopause.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself. First, make sure you're eating foods that are rich in calcium, like milk, yogurt, and other dairy foods; fish with soft bones like salmon, sardines, and anchovies; dark green vegetables like kale and broccoli; beans and lentils; and nuts and seeds like almonds, chia, and flax.

Add some weight lifting or strength training to your workout routine since resistance exercises help prevent bone loss. In addition, if you haven't yet been diagnosed with osteoporosis, high-impact, weight-bearing activities like running or tennis can build bone and make bones denser.

If you smoke, consider a smoking cessation program; smoking increases your risk of osteoporosis. And alcohol can disrupt your calcium levels, so drink in moderation.

Finally, if you're concerned about osteoporosis, talk with your doctor. They can order a scan called a bone mineral density test that can tell you your risk.

Bradley H. Glenn, MD

Family Medicine

Glenn Family Medicine, LLC
85 Maui Lani Parkway
Wailuku,, HI 96793