Keep Your Bones Strong as You Age

The skeleton system of our body plays an important part throughout our life. Acting as a pillar to support our body’s framework and protect our vital organs, protecting bone health is easier than you think. Bones provide structure to the body, protect organs, anchor muscles and regularize the storage of calcium. It is vital to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence by understanding how the diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors affect the bone mass to prevent poor bone health.

From the time of birth to old age, our bones go through a series of changes. They help in storing some basic minerals like calcium and phosphorus supporting the muscles for locomotion.  By the age of 25-30, the bone mass density is at its peak. Gradually, it tends to lose more bone mass than the deposit. Osteoporosis being a frequently occurring condition developed by people as they grow old, this condition makes the bones weak and fragile.

Inadequate consumption of vitamin D and calcium in diet, absence of physical activity, being underweight, smoking and drinking, irregular hormonal levels and consumption of certain medications act as a catalyst for accelerating osteoporosis early. As per statistics, the adult population above the age of 50 tends to break their bones more easily. Also, as the level of estrogen drops during menopause, women experience a rapid bone loss at the age of 60.

The following can be incorporated in your day to day lifestyle for better bone health and slow bone loss:

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1. Proper intake of calcium and vitamin D 

A diet low in Calcium and Vitamin D results in diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. For adults ages 19 to 50, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. It increases to 1,200 mg a day for women over the age of 50 and men over 70. A few easy to access sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, and broccoli and soy products. Adults under the age of 70 are advised to get 600 international units per day, and 800 IU post the age of 70. A few good sources of vitamin D include fish, mushrooms, eggsand food items fortified with vitamin D with the best one being sun exposure for short periods.

2. Exercise regularly

A healthy body requires regular exercise. Being inactive makes the muscles and bones lose strength increasing the risk of osteoporosis, falls and fractures. It is recommended that people over the age of 65 should get a moderate exercise of 150 minutes every week, in bouts of at least 10 minutes. This could be going for a walk, practicing yoga, light jogging or any other activity of low intensity workout. Exercises using the body weight by ensuring to involve all the body’s major muscle groups also contribute towards building bone strength. People with low physical movement have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Those having a high fracture risk or spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis must take special care; also consider consulting a doctor before taking up an exercise routine.

3. Make sure your medications aren’t bone-sappers

Several types of common medications have been linked to bone loss. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as aluminium-containing antacids, antidepressants and sertraline, esomeprazole, lansoprazole and omeprazole can damage bone health.  

Lastly, it is extremely important to be aware and mindful of the changes which take place in your body from time to time as we start ageing.  For example, receding gums, weaker grip strength, brittle finger nails, loss of height, stooped posture and back pain are some of the symptoms to look for as an alarm to Osteoporosis.

Early diagnosis and management of osteoporosis is essential to prevent high rates of morbidity and mortality due to this disorder.

Final Thought:

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