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When a bone test is a woman's best friend

Provided by HealthMonitor

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A bone mineral density (BMD) test can be a woman's best friend. The test checks for bone loss'thinning or weakening'that can occur due to the drop in estrogen that happens during menopause. This bone loss can put women at risk for osteoporosis, a disease that raises the risk of sudden, unexpected breaks.

Talk to your doctor about getting a BMD test before or during menopause to see how your bones are holding up. If bone loss has occurred, your doctor may recommend supplements or medications. But taking good care of yourself may help prevent osteoporosis in the first place. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), a good place to start is with your diet. The following recommendations can help keep your bones healthy:

What Your Body Needs
Calcium
Getting enough of this mineral helps to maintain and build strong, healthy bones. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium for adults with a low or average risk of developing osteoporosis is 1,000 mg. For those at higher risk, including postmenopausal women, the RDA is 1,500 mg. However, check with your doctor before taking supplements or increasing calcium intake. You can get calcium from:
'?Calcium-fortified foods: some orange juices and breads made with calcium-enriched flour
'?Dairy: milk, yogurt and cheese
'?Fish: canned salmon and sardines with the bones
'?Green leafy vegetables: broccoli, kale and collard greens
'?Nuts: almonds and Brazil nuts

Vitamin D
Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Spending at least 15 minutes each day in sunlight helps your body make vitamin D. According to the NOF, adults under age 50 need 400-800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily, and adults 50 and over need 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from:
'?Egg yolks
'?Fish: salmon and tuna
'?Fortified milk

What Your Body Can Do Without
Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with your body's ability to absorb calcium. Women should consume no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.

Caffeine
Curb your caffeine habit; caffeine saps calcium from bones. Limit major sources of caffeine, such as coffee and soda.

Salt
Cut back on salt and processed foods, including deli meats and canned soups. High levels of sodium can interfere with your body's ability to retain calcium. And the more sodium you eat, the more calcium your body needs to meet its daily requirements.

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