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Osteoporosis FAQ: How Nutrition and Diet Affect Your Bone Health

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Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about how to keep your bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis, and what does it do to our bones?

Protecting our bones is obviously important, but figuring out exactly how to do that in terms of our diet can be confusing. With that in mind, I contacted a few bone experts to give us the highlights and answer some of the more frequently asked questions.

According to Tejaswini Rao, PhD, RD, a professor of nutrition at State University of New York at Buffalo, "Osteoporosis or porous bones is a disease characterized by low bone mass leading to fragile bones and resulting in an increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist."

At what age do our bones start to deteriorate?

Our bones reach their peak level of density (or mass) in the mid-20s (on average), says Dorothy Teegarden, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Purdue University. "Roughly after age 35, both men and women start to lose bone at a slow rate of 1 to 2 percent per year. This bone loss is accelerated in women around and after menopause to about 5 percent per year for five to seven years, and then the bone loss in women returns to a baseline of 1 to 2 percent per year. Men don't go through the accelerated menopausal bone loss but continue to lose bone at the rate of 1 to 2 percent per year," says Primal Kaur, MD, director of the Osteoporosis Clinic at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Is osteoporosis mostly a female problem?

It's true that osteoporosis is less common in men than women, because men start out with more bone density than women and do not go through menopause, which accelerates bone loss, says Rao. But after age 65, men and women lose bone at the same rate. By age 75, one-third of men have osteoporosis as do a third of women.

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2/2/2012 02:46:58 AM Report Abuse

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