Osteoporosis is a highly prevalent disease among women; half of women over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Characterized by thinning of the bone that leads to fractures, the condition is caused by the fact that the body stops rebuilding bone fast enough to replace degeneration as we age. This generally begins in the mid 30’s, but it usually doesn’t pose any risks until women reach menopause. Men also suffer from osteoporosis, but usually at a much older age.When a woman hits menopause, her shares of the hormone estrogen decline dramatically. This hormone is responsible for preventing the breakdown of women’s bones. Any situation indicating low estrogen levels, including lack of a menstrual period before a woman reaches a natural age for menopause, is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Combined with the sudden drop in estrogen, women also have smaller, thinner bones than men generally. It’s important for women to focus on preventative methods.Below are several measures you can take to help prevent osteoporosis.1) Take calcium and vitamin D supplements, the latter of which helps the body absorb calcium.2) Do exercise that subjects the bones to weight-bearing, which encourages rebuilding.3) Increase your intake of foods that contain calcium. Dairy products aren’t the only foods that contain calcium. Kale, collard greens, tempeh, fortified orange juice, turnip greens and blackstrap molasses are all potent sources.4) Avoid excess salt consumption. Aside from increasing your risk of heart disease, a Japanese study, available at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617110931.htm, found that very high sodium intake correlates with bone fracture risk.5) Research is currently inconclusive, but the results of some studies suggest that fructooligosaccharides, aside from being fun to say, are good for your bones. These non-digestible carbs may increase your body’s ability to absorb calcium. They’re found in chicory root, onions, tomatoes, asparagus and wheat.6) Take steps to avoid insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is common among people who are overweight. A study, found at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617110715.htm, determined diabetics to have weaker bones than non-diabetics. The best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes are to exercise and eat well, maintaining a healthy weight.7) If you’re too young to be experiencing menopause but have stopped getting your period (or never started), see a doctor. If no dysfunction is found, you may wish to begin using birth control to regulate your hormones. The extra estrogen will help keep your bones strong.As with most health conditions, preventing osteoporosis involves eating right and exercising. Taking simple steps now to prevent this and other conditions will help you live longer and better as you age.