By all means, protecting your bone health is easier than you think. First, understand how diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass. After all, our bones play many roles in the body. For instance, providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium.
While it’s important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too. For one thing, minerals are incorporated into your bones during childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. And once you reach 30 years of age, you have achieved peak bone mass.
If not enough bone mass is created during this time or bone loss occurs later in life, you have an increased risk of developing fragile bones that break easily. Fortunately, many nutrition and lifestyle habits can help you increase your bone health. By building strong bones and maintain them as you age.
But if we don’t eat right and don’t get enough of the right kinds of exercise, our bones can become weak and even break. Broken bones (called fractures) can be painful and sometimes need surgery to heal. They can also cause long-lasting health problems.
Why is Bone Health important?
Bone health is important because our bones support us and allow us to move. They protect our brain, heart, and other organs from injury. Our bones also store minerals such as calcium and phosphorous, which help keep our bones strong. Releasing them into the body when we need them for other uses.
Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.
How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30. And also, how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.
There are many things we can do to keep our bone health and strength. For example, eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, getting plenty of exercise, and having good health habits help keep our bones healthy.
What is Osteoporosis?
There are many kinds of bone diseases. The most common one is osteoporosis (AH-stee-oh-por-OH-sis). With osteoporosis, our bones become weak and are more likely to break. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the wrist, spine, and hip.
Our bones are alive. Every day, our body breaks down old bone and puts new bone in its place. As we get older, our bones break down more bone than they put back. It is normal to lose some bone as we age. But, if we do not take steps to keep our bones healthy, we can lose too much bone and get osteoporosis.
Many people have weak bones and don’t even know it. That’s because bone loss often happens over a long period of time and doesn’t hurt. For many people, a broken bone is the first sign that they have osteoporosis.
There are many things that can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. These things are called “risk factors.” Some risk factors are things you can control, and some things are outside of your control.
Risk factors you can control;
- Diet. Getting too little calcium can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. Not getting enough vitamin D can also increase your risk for the disease. Vitamin D is important because it helps the body use the calcium in your diet.
- Physical activity. Not exercising and not being active for long periods of time can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. Like muscles, bones become stronger – and stay stronger – with regular exercise.
- Bodyweight. Being too thin makes you more likely to get osteoporosis.
- Smoking. Smoking cigarettes can keep your body from using the calcium in your diet. Also, women who smoke go through menopause earlier than those who don’t smoke. These things can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
- Alcohol. People who drink a lot are more likely to get osteoporosis.
- Medicines. Certain medicines can cause bone loss. These include a type of medicine called glucocorticoids (gloo-ko-KOR-ti-koids). Glucocorticoids are given to people who have arthritis, asthma, and many other diseases. Some other medicines that prevent seizures and that treat endometriosis (en-do-me-tree-O-sis), a disease of the uterus, and cancer can cause bone loss, too.
Risk factors you cannot control;
- Age. Your chances of getting osteoporosis increase as you get older.
- Gender. You have a greater chance of getting osteoporosis if you are a woman. Women have smaller bones than men and lose bone faster than men do because of hormone changes that happen after menopause.
- Ethnicity. White women and Asian women are most likely to get osteoporosis. Hispanic women and African American women are also at risk, but less so.
- Family history. Having a close family member who has osteoporosis or has broken a bone may also increase your risk.
What affects Bone Health?
Because more women get osteoporosis than men, many men think they are not at risk for the disease. Many Hispanic and African American women are not concerned about their bones either. They believe that osteoporosis is only a problem for white women. However, it is a real risk for older men and women from all backgrounds.
A number of factors can affect bone health. For example:
- The amount of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
- Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
- Tobacco and alcohol use. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than one alcoholic drink a day for women or two alcoholic drinks a day for men may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
More factors include;
- Gender. You’re at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re a woman because women have less bone tissue than do men.
- Size. You’re at risk if you are extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you might have less bone mass to draw from as you age.
- Age. Your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
- Race and family history. You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent. In addition, having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk — especially if you also have a family history of fractures.
- Hormone levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. The prolonged absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
- Eating disorders and other conditions. People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss surgery, and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and Cushing’s disease can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Additionally, long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone, is damaging to bone.
What can I do to Keep my Bones Healthy?
Other drugs that might increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications. Such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital, and proton pump inhibitors.
When we are young, our bones are at their finest strength. From our mid 20’s to when we reach 30, the density of our bones is at the optimum level. However, after 30, our bones start losing their thickness. This makes them susceptible to injuries and fractures. Older age also invites bone diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
In order to prevent this situation, it is crucial that you should start worrying about your bones and start making them healthy and strong. Strong bones require constant care and maintenance. Healthy changes in your diet and regular exercise can help you achieve stronger bones.
You can take a few simple steps to prevent or slow bone loss. For example:
Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products and foods and drinks with added calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and milk with vitamin D. Some people may need to take nutritional supplements in order to get enough calcium and vitamin D.
Go over your risk factors with your doctor and ask if you should get a bone density test. If you need it, your doctor can order medicine to help prevent bone loss and reduce your chances of breaking a bone.
Include plenty of calcium in your diet
For adults ages, 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70.
Good sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor about supplements.
Pay attention to vitamin D
Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. For adults ages 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older.
Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, and tuna. Additionally, mushrooms, eggs and fortified foods, such as milk and cereals, are good sources of vitamin D. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D. If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.
Include physical activity in your daily routine
Like muscles, bones become stronger with exercise. The best exercises for healthy bones are strength-building and weight-bearing, like walking, climbing stairs, lifting weights, and dancing. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Also, don’t smoke, and if you are a woman, avoid drinking more than one alcoholic drink each day. If you are a man, avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day.
Prevent yourself from falls
Falling down can cause a bone to break, especially in someone with osteoporosis. But most falls can be prevented. Check your home for dangers like loose rugs and poor lighting. Have your vision checked regularly. Increase your balance and strength by walking every day and taking classes like Tai Chi, yoga, or dancing.
Take medicines for bone Health
There are medicines to help prevent and treat osteoporosis. These include bisphosphonates; estrogen agonists/antagonists (also called selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMs); calcitonin; parathyroid hormone; estrogen therapy; hormone therapy; and a recently approved RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitor.
Your doctor may want you to take medicine if your bone density test shows that your bones are weak and that you have a good chance of breaking a bone in the future. Your doctor is more likely to order medicine if you have other health concerns that increase your risk for breaking a bone, such as a tendency to fall or low body weight.
When to See a Doctor?
If you’re concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, including a recent bone fracture, consult your doctor. He or she might recommend a bone density test. The results will help your doctor gauge your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss.
By evaluating this information and your risk factors, your doctor can assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss. With this in mind, I hope the above-revised guide was useful to you. But if you’ll have some additional contributions and questions, please Contact Us.
Finally, here are 10 Natural Ways to Build Healthy Bones.