It’s not too late to take a proactive approach to healthy bones. Your bones are a living tissue that has specific requirements in order for them to work properly.
While most people fail to give them the attention that they deserve, simple accidents such as falling can render you helpless and place limits on your mobility. It can also make you more dependent on others. In order to enjoy the privilege of staying active, you need to pay attention to good bone health.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that leaves a person more susceptible to breaks and fractures. It can occur if your body produces too little bone, loses excessive amounts of bone or both. As a result, simple actions such as sneezing, minor falls or bumping into a piece of furniture can cause a minor or serious break to occur. This silent disease fails to show obvious symptoms until it’s too late. You may also notice your body shrinking in size or your back with a forward curve to it.
Osteoporosis related breaks in women who are postmenopausal have been shown to have a 20 percent rate of mortality caused by infections or blood clots. Research shows that 1 out of 2 women will develop the disease. Men are also prone to osteoporosis. However, their statistics differ with 1 out of every 4 men at risk of its development. Osteoporosis can also be extremely costly as the disease is responsible for nearly $19 billion in related expenses and 2 million fractures. By the year 2025, medical experts see the costs rise to over $25 billion annually.
Different than arthritis, osteoporosis produces chronic inflammation in a person’s bones. When bones in the vertebrae are broken, they may collapse and prevent individuals from standing upright. The rib cage can also be affected by making it smaller and more difficult for the lungs to breathe properly.
For women, the peak bone mass is near the age of 40. Past this age, new bone formation starts its decline. While this outlook may seem bleak, there are things that you can do to help in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Tips to Prevent Osteoporosis
The best way to enjoy optimal bone health is in the diseases prevention. Women 65 and over should schedule a DEXA scan to assess the health of their bones. If you have other risk factors such as steroid use, family history of osteoporosis or you smoke, you should have it done earlier in life. A sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition can also boost your chances of developing osteoporosis.
The top ways to combat bone loss and strengthen your bones is through weight bearing exercise, a healthy diet, calcium and vitamin D usage, natural hormone replacement therapy and limiting your alcohol consumption.
1. Weight Bearing Exercise
Keeping an active lifestyle is essential for creating optimal bone health. You can start by introducing weight bearing exercises into your daily life. In addition to making your bones stronger, the movements can also make it easier to move around as you age. During menopause, bone loss can increase, so you want to stop it in its tracks. Examples of weight bearing exercise include movements that you integrate while in a standing position. This gives your muscles and bones the ability to produce movements against gravity. From walking and Tai Chi to lifting weights and yoga, you’ll find a wide range of activities to try. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests people incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise daily for optimum bone health.
2. Good Nutrition
In addition to calcium and vitamin D rich foods such as yogurt, milk and cottage cheese, there are other nutritious items that can prove beneficial when you’re looking to prevent osteoporosis. Fruits and veggies such as collard greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, orange juice, bananas, prunes and raisins contain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. Salmon, nuts, sardines and tuna are other foods that are excellent at strengthening your bones. Cereals, breads and snacks are now fortified to contain an extra punch of vitamin D and calcium, so it pays to read the labels when you go to the market. There are also mineral rich herbal remedies that can prevent the bones from weakening such as nettle leaf, dandelion leaf and black pepper.
3. Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy
Manufactured by the ovaries, estrogen is a hormone found in women. As a woman goes through menopause, they produce less and less estrogen in the body. Studies have found that as the amounts of estrogen lessens, the inflammatory properties that causes bone loss and eventually osteoporosis increase. In order to balance the body and prevent osteoporosis, natural methods of hormone replacement therapy are recommended.
4. Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D consumption are essential nutrients that can help strengthen the bones. Since calcium is a mineral, this primary root for strong bones will slow down the process of bone loss as people age. Calcium is critical during the early stages of life and adolescence. Vitamin D is also necessary as it can help the way your bones absorb the calcium. Unfortunately, most people fail to get the proper requirements in their diet. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 50, you want to consume 1,000 mg per day. If you’re 51 and older, it’s best to increase that number to 1,200 daily.
5. Decrease Alcohol Intake
Excessive alcohol can have a poor effect on your body’s ability to absorb calcium from your stomach. It can then leave your bones brittle and at risk for fractures. Alcohol can also affect the liver, which is necessary for proper vitamin D activation. The good news is that when you quit drinking, the health of your bones can recover