• Recurrent low back pains;
•Loss of height over time accompanied by a stooped posture
• Fractures that occur after a fall or a non-major injury.
• Take enough calcium and vitamin D. Men and women age 50 and older need 1,200 mg. calcium and 800 to 1,000 i.u. of vitamin D each day
• Eat foods rich in calcium such as yogurt, cheese, milk and dark green vegetables and get vitamin D from eggs, fatty fish, cereal, and milk. Be careful, though, because you should not get more than 2,500 mg of calcium and 2,000 i.u. of vitamin D each day, be it from supplements, or from food.
• Limit alcohol intake. Heavy alcohol use can thin bones and increase your risk of falls.
• Do not smoke. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk for osteoporosis.
• Get plenty of exercise. Walking, jogging, dancing, lifting weights, and other exercises make bones stronger. Try to exercise 45 to 60 mins at least 4 days a week.
• Reduce your risk of falls by wearing supportive shoes with low heels and non-slip soles.
(Dr. Banzon is the Chief of the SC Medical Services Division.)