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Just like you. We are told so often and so much about "female problems" and the many ways women's bodies break down, especially as they age, that sometimes we lose sight of the fact that being healthy should be the norm—in fact, is the norm. The vibrant, dynamic women described above are all at different stages of their lives—early 40s, perimenopausal with no symptoms; early 50s, experiencing menopause with no symptoms; and mid-60s, finished with menopause and none the worse for wear.

Each has strong, healthy bones providing the foundation for strong, healthy lives and can expect to keep them. As health-conscious women and intelligent consumers, they are aware of the dangers of osteoporosis—literally "porous bones" (bones with holes) so brittle they can fracture from the force of nothing more than a sneeze—and the associated conditions of osteomalacia (soft bones) and osteopenia (low bone mass). But they haven't surrendered to the hype that makes it seem like a coming plague from which there is no escape (except for the salvation of harsh chemicals), nor the complacency that this simply, inevitably, is a part of growing older. Rather, they've put their energy into strategies much like the ones recommended in this book and have radiant health to show for it.

None of it is an accident. There may be some benefit from "good genes," but each of these women is health conscious and aware of her body and its needs, and takes care to do what is good for it and what feels good. But none has taken quite the same approach to wellness, and not all of them follow a specific plan. They've each made changes and adjustments, particularly at times of shifting hormones, but mostly they are busy living their lives, enjoying their work and their families, their homes and their friends, playing and resting and juggling many demands.

Just like you. Whatever your current situation, whatever your age, whatever your bones look like right now, if you know the right things to do for your body, you too can have the same healthy, active lifestyle as any of these women—and keep it for the rest of your life. You may need to do something differently from what they have, and you may want to try things they haven't. Your body may react differently to whatever tack you do take. But you can learn from them, and the people whose stories are told throughout this book, as well as from the facts and figures laid out here, and work out strategies for yourself to get and keep your bones strong for a lifetime.


healthy bones Osteoporosis Rheumatic



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