With ‘World osteoporosis day’ nearly upon us (20th oct) i thought i would highlight some facts and figures, and what you can do to prevent or reduce your risk of osteoporosis in the future. Osteoporosis currently affects 2 million women in the uk. Men don’t think you are exempt! 1 in 5 of you will break a bone due to poor bone health over the age of 50, it isn’t just a female concern it can affect men too. So what the are risk factors for osteoporosis? If there is a strong history of osteoporosis in your family regardless of whether you are male or female the likelihood of you suffering with osteoporosis is significantly higher. Women are more at risk if they have had their menopause before the age of 45 or if they have experienced amenorrhea (lack of periods) for 6 months or longer. Both men and women are more at risk if they have already suffered a bone fracture or break after the age of 20. Smokers have a significantly higher risk of suffering osteoporosis as do those who consume more than 2 units of alcohol per day. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more at risk along with those who have a poor diet particularly if the diet is lacking in calcium and vitamin D. Taking steroidal medication for longer than 3 months can also increase the risk of osteoporosis. And finally, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, crohns disease, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism, anorexia, ankylosis spondylitis amongst others increase the risk. What can you do to help prevent osteoporosis? Exercise! 30 minutes of bone loading/weight bearing moderate exercise 5 times a week, include balance exercise to help reduce risk of falls. Pilates, yoga, walking and body weight exercises are great choices. Stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake. Increase intake of calcium (green leafy veg, nuts and seeds, not dairy) and vitamin D (oily fish) in your diet. All easy changes to make, so what are you waiting for?