Bone Risks ~ Health Guide

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Bone Risks

Written by Mystic on Friday, January 18, 2008

Avoid Bone Risks

Some habits in the teenage years can steal calcium from your bones or increase the need for it, weakening the skeleton for life. Skipping meals is risky for bone. In our three-meal-a-day society, skipping a meal may reduce by a third your chance of getting adequate calcium -- simply by eliminating one occasion to eat. Replacing milk with nondairy drinks like soda pop or fruit-flavored teas or drinks is another eating habit that prevents bones from getting the calcium and other nutrients they need.

Alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking can hurt bone. Alcohol abuse can cause loss of calcium, magnesium and zinc in the urine. Many who abuse alcohol also have poor diets and malnourished, weaker bones. Cigarette smoke is also toxic to bone and can influence how much exercise you get because it affects your stamina.

Eating disorders can weaken bone. The repeated vomiting in bulimia and extreme dieting in the appetite disorder anorexia can upset the body's balance of calcium and important hormones like bone-protective estrogen, decreasing bone density. And extreme exercising by young women with or without eating disorders can postpone or stop menstruation, when blood levels of estrogen are reduced.

As a disorder of aging, osteoporosis may seem far away for worry when you're 15. But, small changes today for better bones tomorrow may be more important than you might guess.

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