Top 10 Tips for Preventing Osteoporosis (Brittle Bones)

  1. Eat a balanced diet including a variety of foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  2. Get enough calcium in your diet, including at least 3 portions of dairy foods such as cheese, milk and yogurt or the equivalent as fortified soya foods. Consult a dietitian if you cannot tolerate dairy or soya foods.
  3. Try to take half an hour’s moderate exercise (so that you begin to feel a little out of breath) at least five times a week. This need not be a formal exercise class; walking and gardening both count. Weight bearing exercise such as brisk walking is particularly beneficial for bone health.
  4. Make sure you include some vitamin D rich foods in your diet; oily fish is a particularly good source. Also make sure you go outdoors, especially during the summer months. If you are over 60, you should take a vitamin D supplement; ask your pharmacist about this.
  5. Avoid vitamin A supplements, in particular those that contain higher than the recommended intake level as high vitamin A intake can lead to bone loss
  6. Avoid smoking, as it has a toxic effect on bones.
  7. Don’t drink too much alcohol; stick to sensible limits or your bones, as well as the rest of your health, will suffer.
  8. Watch your salt intake. It may encourage calcium to be lost from your bones, as well as lead to high blood pressure.
  9. Avoid being underweight, as this will lead to thinning of your bones.
  10. See a doctor for appropriate treatment if you think you are at risk of developing osteoporosis, e.g. if you have had an early menopause (before the age of 45) and are not on HRT, or have had to take a prolonged course of steroid tablets. Also see a doctor if you have had a broken bone as a result of a very small injury or spontaneous fracture.