DENVER -- A warning for women. Doctors say lifestyle alone is putting thousands in Colorado at risk for bone loss, which can strike sooner than you may think.
Experts say too many women become sedentary once they reach mid-life, opening the door for a range of health problems.
Dr. Wendy Kohrt of the University of Colorado School of Medicine says osteoporosis (bone loss) can set in as a woman enters menopause.
"When their ovaries stop functioning and they have a decline in estrogen levels that's when we see an accelerated rate of bone loss," Kohrt said.
Kohrt says slowing down and becoming less active can actually speed the aging process.
"We know from studies from astronauts in space, or people with prolonged periods of bed rest, that when you remove physical activity and loading forces from the skeleton the rate of bone loss accelerates dramatically,” Kohrt said.
Experts say astronauts living in a micro gravity environment can lose bone mass at a rate of 1 percent per month.
Your doctor can test your bone density with special screening tools. A loss of height is one of the most common symptoms.
Doctors say to keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis, jog or walk for 30 minutes everyday, and add some weight lifting.
Weight bearing exercises are key to strengthening bone mass.
Watch your diet, eat plenty of calcium and vitamin D rich foods like yogurt.
You can also get plenty of calcium from Broccolli and other leafy green vegetables.
For more information on preventing bone loss you can visit http://www.uch.edu/ .