31 Aug 7 Tips to Strengthen Your Bones as You Age
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become brittle and weak, increasing one’s risk of fracture and other injuries. Did you know that there are more than 200 million people around the world who suffer from it, and a large number of these cases involve men and women who are 60 years and older?
What are the common warning signs of osteoporosis?
In the early stages of osteoporosis, warning signs do not really manifest. However, in the advanced stages, once your bones have become so weak and brittle, the following symptoms may occur:
- Back pains
- Hunched posture
- Decrease in height due to stooped posture
- Bones that break easily
What are the risk factors associated with osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that can affect both men and women. However, it is more likely to strike people with the following risk factors:
♦ History of the disease in the family
If your mother, father, or sibling has osteoporosis or has fractured a hip because of osteoporosis, the odds of you having it is higher than someone who does not have any family member suffering from it.
According to research studies, women are much more prone to develop osteoporosis than men.
Older people, especially those who are in their 60s, have a much greater risk of osteoporosis than those who are decades younger.
♦ Body build and size
Men and women who have small body builds and frames have higher odds of having osteoporosis because they possess lesser bone mass than those who have large body frames and sizes.
According to various studies, people who are white or of Asian descent have a higher likelihood of developing osteoporosis than other races.
♦ Hormone levels
Men and women naturally produce sex hormones that play key roles in building strong bones. In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone, and it facilitates the formation and development of bone density and strength. In women, estrogen is one of the two main sex hormones (the other one is progesterone), and it supports bone growth and health. If not enough of these two hormones are produced, the risk of osteoporosis increases.
♦ Low calcium
Calcium is an essential nutrient in bone growth and development, so having low calcium levels in the body puts you in danger of bone loss, reduced bone density, and increased risk of fractures, bone injuries, and bone disorders.
♦ Intake of certain medications
There are certain medications that can negatively impact the bone-rebuilding process and raise the risk of osteoporosis. If you are taking long-term medications for cancer, seizures, gastric reflux, or some other health problem, it is best to talk to your doctor about their side effects.
What can you do to boost bone strength and prevent osteoporosis?
Living a healthy lifestyle is vital to optimal bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. Below are lifestyle changes that you should make to protect your bones:
Be more physically active
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you are at high risk of a variety of health problems, including bone loss and osteoporosis. According to certain studies, people who spend many hours of their days sitting or laying around are much more prone to developing osteoporosis than those that get regular exercise. For good bone health, you should engage in activities that can enhance your posture and balance, such as weightlifting, walking, dancing, jumping, and running.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet
What you eat can also influence your bone health. If your day-to-day meals consist of a lot of foods that are high in sugar, fat, or salt, your risk of developing different diseases is high. But, if you change your daily diet into something that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, which are foods that are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, your body can thrive and function properly.
Cigarettes and tobacco not only can harm and damage your lungs, but they can also weaken your bones and increase your risk of osteoporosis. According to various studies, smoking exposes your body to dangerous compounds that can disrupt bone growth and development, and impair your heart, brain, and other vital body organs and systems.
Limit alcohol consumption
Medical professionals recommend drinking a maximum of two drinks per day if you are a man and one drink per day if you are a woman to not put yourself in danger of the many illnesses and diseases brought about by excessive alcohol intake, including early bone loss, diminished bone density, and greater odds of developing osteoporosis.
Increase protein intake
Protein is an important component in bone building, so you have to eat enough protein to facilitate proper bone growth and development in your body. Some examples of good protein sources are eggs, cheese, yogurt, lentils, chickpeas, almonds, tofu, fish, chicken, oats, milk, broccoli, lean beef, and peanut butter.
Increase calcium intake
Calcium is another essential nutrient that helps the body carry out its functions and processes properly. It is good for the heart, nerves, and muscles, and can lower the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. It is also necessary for bone building and maintenance and can help prevent fractures, osteoporosis, and other bone complications. Examples of foods that are good sources of calcium are milk, cheese, broccoli, okra, cabbage, soya beans, tofu, sardines, yogurt, almonds, whey protein, chia seeds, white beans, and sunflower seeds.
Increase vitamin D intake
For your body to effectively absorb calcium, it needs the help of vitamin D, which is another essential nutrient that is key to many important bodily functions and processes. You can get vitamin D from the sun, so you can just spend 15 minutes or so outdoors in the morning to soak in as much vitamin D as possible. You can also add vitamin D-rich foods, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, beef liver, soy milk, cereals, egg yolks, orange juice, and cheese, in your regular diet to meet your daily vitamin D needs.