Bones play vital roles in the body. They protect organs, store calcium, anchor muscles, and provide structure. And even though it’s critical to build healthy and strong bones during childhood and teenage years, adults can take a few steps to keep their bones healthy, too.
Importance of Bone Health
Our bones are constantly changing, where old bone is broken down while new bones emerge. Young individuals can make new bones faster and break down old bones slower, allowing them to have increased bone mass.
In general, people reach their peak bone mass at age 30. The remodeling of bones will continue after that. However, you will most likely lose more bone mass than usual.
The development of osteoporosis- a bone condition that results in weak and brittle bones- will depend on your bone mass when you reach 30. It will also depend on how quickly you lose bone mass after reaching that age. In other terms, the higher your bone mass is, the less likely you will develop osteoporosis.
Factors Affecting Bone Health
There are several factors affecting bone health, including:
Calcium included in the diet
When your diet is low in calcium, there is a high chance you’ll lose bone density early. And losing bones at a young age can put a person at risk of significant fractures.
People who are not physically active are at higher risk of osteoporosis as their bones don’t get enough action to build strength.
Excessive use of alcohol and tobacco
According to studies, using tobacco significantly contributes to weak bones. Furthermore, regularly drinking alcoholic beverages every day increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis mainly because they naturally have fewer bone tissues than men.
Our bones become weaker and thinner as we age. And that is why it’s natural for us to lose teeth during our senior years. However, visiting your trusted dental clinic is still recommended despite losing teeth.
Extremely thin or people with small body frames are also at higher risk of osteoporosis because they usually have less bone mass as they age.
Race and family history
Research shows that people of Asian or white descent are at higher risk of osteoporosis. You are also at risk if your family has a history of osteoporosis or a parent has a history of fractures.
Excessive thyroid hormone can also cause bone loss. For women, the dramatic occurrence of bone loss happens during the menopausal stage, where their estrogen levels drop significantly. The extended absence of menstruation prior to menopause can also increase the risk of osteoporosis. For men, loss of bone mass occurs due to low testosterone levels.
Your food intake has a great impact on the health of your bones. For instance, restricting food consumption and lack of weight can ultimately weaken bones in women and men. Moreover, weight-loss procedures and health conditions, like celiac disease, affect the body’s ability to take in calcium.
Some medications may affect bone health. The extended intake of corticosteroid medications, like cortisone, prednisone, dexamethasone, and prednisolone can dramatically damage the bones. Other drugs may also increase the risk of osteoporosis. These drugs include anti-seizure medications, methotrexate, aromatase inhibitors for treating breast cancer, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Keeping your Bones Healthy
Here are some tips for increasing and maintaining bone health.
- Add more calcium to your diet. The more calcium you consume, the stronger your bones will get. Some of the best sources of calcium include broccoli, dairy products, salmon with bones, almonds, and soy products. If you need more calcium, consult your doctor for safe supplements to take.
- Consume more vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, and this vitamin becomes more critical as you age. The best natural sources of vitamin D include salmon, or any oily fishes, eggs, mushrooms, cereals, and milk. You can also get vitamin D from sunlight. There are several vitamin D supplements on the market, but make sure to ask your doctor first.
- Be physically active. As mentioned, physical activity is critical for bone density, so make sure to include exercise in your daily activities. Jogging, walking, stair-climbing are some many activities that can help in slowing down bone loss and building strong bones.
- Stay away from substance abuse. Smoking is a great contributor to bone loss, so it’s ideal to avoid tobacco use. Make sure not to abuse alcohol too.
If you have any concerns about your bone’s health or are at risk of osteoporosis, the best thing to do is to speak with your doctor. Your doctor can suggest a bone density test that can help them determine your bone density. The information they will gather will help them assess whether you need medication or preventive measures to decelerate bone loss.