How to Protect your Bones as You Age
The skeleton system of our body plays a vital role throughout our lifetime. It acts as a pillar of support for our body’s framework and protects our vital organs. Additionally, bones help store minerals like calcium and phosphorous, as well as support the muscles for locomotion. From birth to old age our bones go through a series of changes. By the age of 30, the bone mass density reaches its peak. After which it tends to lose more bone mass than it is deposited.
Osteoporosis is a frequently occurring condition developed by people as they grow old. In this condition, bones become weak and fragile. Consequently, it becomes difficult to heal a broken bone after an osteoporotic fracture. According to statistics, the adult population above the age of 50 tends to break their bones easily. Where it is seen, that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men fracture their bones due to osteoporosis. Hence, it is important to take care of our bones from a young age to old age.
There are certain risk factors that may act as a catalyst for accelerating osteoporosis early. Lack of vitamin D and calcium in the diet, lack of physical activity, being underweight, smoking and drinking, irregular hormonal levels, and intake of certain medications are some common examples of risk factors.
While the risk factors increase the vulnerability of osteoporosis as we age. On the other hand, the following steps can be incorporated into one’s lifestyle to better one’s bone health:
- Incorporating food and drinks rich in calcium and vitamin D. For example, low-fat dairy, tofu, soy milk, green leafy vegetables, leguminous pulses, salmon, and nuts are good sources for calcium. Exposing one’s body to sunlight for 10-15 minutes twice or thrice a week acts as a good source for vitamin D. Food products like fortified milk and cereals, salmon, tuna, shrimp and oysters are also good sources for vitamin D.
- Indulging in regular exercise for a minimum of half n hour keeps the muscles and bones strong. Strength building, weight training exercises, and dancing are one of the best ways to keep fit and healthy bones.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol abuse. According to medical advice, women should not consume no more than one drink per day and men should consume no more than two drinks per day.
- With increasing age, regular bone density tests and health check-ups with doctors help prevent excessive bone density loss
Starting early is no harm. Therefore, taking care of bones from a young age becomes essential to prevent poor bone health. During childhood and adolescent years, bones rapidly grow. These form crucial years for developing good bone health. A properly balanced diet with an increased intake of calcium-rich foods and a minimum one hour of physical exercise every day helps to maintain good bone health. Additionally, adults after 30 years of age must integrate healthy lifestyle practices. Following are few activities to prevent poor bone health after the age of 30:
- Exercising daily for 30 minutes at least
- Being cautious of falls or accidents
- Going for regular eye check-ups
- Regular bone density tests. Especially, after the age of 50 with a fractured bone
- Additional intake of calcium and vitamin D over the age of 50
- Regular medication, if prescribed by doctor, for bone density
- Periodic Dexa scan test for high-risk or vulnerable patients.
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