Osteoporosis is not something that happens overnight. It develops gradually, as we age. The word, “osteoporosis” means “porous bone”, and porous bone is weaker bone. Bones are living tissue made up of calcium and protein. Healthy bone is constantly regenerated as small amounts of calcium are absorbed and replaced. The problem begins when more calcium is being absorbed than replaced, resulting in a loss in bone density. Over time, the bones in your body become progressively weaker and more likely to break.
There are several causes of osteoporosis. Some you can change and some you can’t. The risk factors you cannot change are gender, age, body size, ethnicity, and heredity. Fortunately there are things you can do to slow the progression of osteoporosis, even if you have risk factors that you can’t control. Some steps you can take (preferably before your mid-thirties for maximum benefit): eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, get plenty of exercise, quit smoking, and avoid excess alcohol consumption.
Most people need 1200-1500 mg. of calcium per day to maintain good bone health. For vitamin D, most people need 1000 IU (International Units) per day.
It’s important to note that you’re never too young to begin taking measures to modify your lifestyle to slow the rate of progression of osteoporosis.