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Preventing Osteoporosis: Avoiding Bone Loss

Certain factors can speed up bone loss or decrease bone growth. For example, alcohol, cigarettes, and certain medicines reduce bone mass. Some foods make it hard for your body to absorb calcium.

Image of wine, beer, soda, coffee, cigarettes,cigar, and cocktail with red circle and slash on top indicating don't use.

Things to Avoid

  • Alcohol is toxic to bones. It is a major cause of bone loss. Heavy drinking can cause osteoporosis even if you have no other risk factors.

  • Smoking reduces bone mass. Smoking may also interfere with estrogen levels and cause early menopause.

  • Inactivity makes your bones lose strength and become thinner. Over time, thin bones may break. Women who aren't active are at a high risk for osteoporosis.

  • Certain medications such as cortisone increase bone loss. They also decrease bone growth. Ask your health care provider about any side effects of your medications, and how to prevent them.

  • Protein-rich or salty foods eaten in large amounts may deplete calcium.

  • Caffeine increases calcium loss. People who drink a lot of coffee, tea, or colas lose more calcium than those who don't.

Online Medical Reviewer: Nelson, Gail A., MS, APRN, BC
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 7/9/2013
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