How to Keep Bones Healthy!
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent the aging process - and the deterioration of our bodies that goes along with it. Osteoporosis is the name for the condition in which the bones become brittle and weaker – an estimated 28 million people are at risk of the disease; around 80% of these are female.
And osteoporosis is often difficult to spot – there are often no obvious or visible signs. Because of this, some have labeled it “the silent disease”. Although anyone can suffer from osteoporosis, seniors are particularly at risk.
Apart from ageing, several other factors can adversely affect our bones. People with a high daily intake of alcohol or caffeine are particularly at risk as are those who use certain medicines to excess, such as prednisone and cortisone. Women who have had their ovaries removed, or are past menopause also faced an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis symptoms tend to be more likely on certain areas of the body – knowing this can help with prevention. The most common sites for fractures tend to be the wrist, spine and hips. Not surprisingly, most factures of the bone in seniors are caused by breaks resulting from falls.
Spine fractures are common – and can be dangerous. Over 700,000 people suffer from spinal fractures every year and around 60% of these remain undiagnosed or untreated, due to the lack of specific symptoms. Spinal fractures can be caused by too much strain on the back as well as a fall.
Although it’s often difficult to ascertain osteoporosis, there are some symptoms that may indicate frail bones. Severe or recurring pains in the muscles and bones – especially the neck or lower back – can be a red flag. A slight curving of the spine – sometimes known as “Dowager’s Hump” and even a slight loss in height are both indications of osteoporosis symptoms.
There are several things that you can do to help to keep your bones healthy and strong. Activity helps to increase bone strength as well as keeping you healthy in other ways. Walking, tennis or dancing are all recommended, as are exercises that help to improve coordination and balance, such as tai chi and swimming.
Be careful what you eat – we
all know that calcium is essential for healthy bones. One of the effects
of ageing is that our bones don’t absorb calcium as well. Ideally,
people aged 50 or over need 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium every day.
Calcium is found in many foods
– including dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Calcium
is also plentiful in such varied foods as tofu, green vegetables, sardines
and dried beans. Orange juice which contains calcium is a good option
too. If you don’t have a calcium-rich diet on a regular basis, a calcium
supplement may be an effective solution. Along withcalcium,
vitamin D is also recommended to
help maintain healthy bones, as it helps our gastrointestinal tract
to absorb calcium.
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