ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
EYE CARE, VISION
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Hand-Washing Habits Still Need Improvement: Survey Says
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Any Old Cane Won't Do
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Calcium and vitamin D supplements may do more than strengthen bones in older women. These vital nutrients may also help younger, active women reduce their risk of stress fractures.

To illustrate that point, many bone health experts refer to a recent study of more than 5,200 female U.S. Navy recruits that found that women who didn't take additional calcium and vitamin D were about 25 percent more likely to suffer a stress fracture than women who took the vitamin and mineral combination.

"The most common time for a stress fracture is when you're increasing your exercise levels -- when you're going from doing nothing to doing a whole lot. It's too much, too fast, and the bone can't handle it," explained Dr. Sabrina Strickland, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

"Before you embark on any sort of exercise regimen, take calcium and vitamin D supplements to reduce your chances of a stress fracture," she advised.

Stress fractures occur when muscles become tired and can't absorb shock properly. That force is then transferred to the bone instead. After time, that added shock can cause a tiny crack in the bone. More than half of all stress fractures occur in the lower leg, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Women are more likely to suffer stress fractures, particularly women involved in just one particular sport, such as running, tennis, gymnastics or basketball.

"Stress fractures are seen in people who do the same activity over and over again," said Dr. Elton Strauss, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City.

In the Navy recruit study, the women were undergoing eight weeks of basic training. All were between the ages of 17 and 35. The women were randomly divided into two groups. One group was given daily supplements containing 2,000 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D, while the other group took a placebo.

More than 300 women developed a stress fracture. About 170 women who took a placebo experienced a stress fracture. That means about 25 percent more of the placebo group had a stress fracture compared to those taking the supplements.

Results of the study were presented at a recent meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society.

"I recommend that all of my female patients take 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium citrate and 800 international units of vitamin D3 daily," said Strickland.

Strickland also advised that athletes should cross-train to avoid stress fractures. If you're a runner, she suggests lifting weights. "Don't just participate in impact activities," she cautioned.

Strauss agreed that cross-training is crucial for strengthening muscles and ligaments, which will help prevent stress fractures. "You shouldn't do the same sport seven days a week," he said.

Strauss also suggested making sure you get plenty of sleep. And, if you're participating in a lot of exercise, you should "push for at least 12 to 15 grams of protein at each meal." Protein is important for the metabolism of muscles and bones, he said.

Strauss also recommended getting adequate levels of calcium, because it's "good for the entire musculoskeletal system." He said he thought most runners and other athletes spend enough time outdoors that they might not need a vitamin D supplement, because the body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. However, athletes who are vigilant about applying sunscreen may need the additional vitamin D.

Finally, when you begin a new activity, take it slow, Strickland advised. "Don't do too much too fast. The typical rule for runners, and one almost nobody follows, is to increase the amount of running by 10 percent each week," she said.

- Serena Gordon

More information

To learn more about stress fractures, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.



SOURCES: Sabrina Strickland, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, and chief, orthopedics, James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York City; Elton Strauss, M.D., associate professor of orthopedic surgery, Mount Sinai Medical School, New York City

Last Updated: Nov. 07, 2008

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