Osteoporosis is a bone disease that makes bones porous and fragile. The condition can lead to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist, and statistics show that African American women are more likely to die after a hip fracture.
Why are African American women at greater risk?
There are 3 main reasons for this:
- Osteoporosis is often not recognized by African American women, so it goes untreated for years.
- African American women consume 50 percent less calcium than they should be getting to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium is extremely important to prevent bone loss.
- Diseases that affect more African Americans such as sickle cell anemia and lupus can also cause an increase in the risk of getting osteoporosis.
Up to 75 percent of African Americans are lactose intolerant. This means they cannot digest dairy products, which are rich in calcium. So, it is important to find other sources of vitamin D and calcium. This can include green vegetables, sesame and flax seeds, almonds and brazil nuts, and herbs like basil. Soy milk is also a good alternative.
The other important way to prevent osteoporosis is to exercise regularly, including walking, jogging, lifting weights, or jazzercise. Regular checkups, including a bone density test, will also help prevent osteoporosis. There is no cure for osteoporosis, so prevention is extremely important.