BENGALURU: It’s easy to keep your bones healthy by understanding healthy diet and importance of physical activity and lifestyle
The bones are continuously changing - new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you are young, 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 remodelling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.
Checking bone health
■ 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.
■ People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
■ You’re at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re a woman, because women have less bone tissue than men.
■ You’re also 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.
■ Your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
■ 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.
■ Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
■ 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.
■ Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone.
Keeping it healthy
■ Include plenty of calcium in your diet. 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.
Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as tuna and sardines, egg yolks, and fortified milk. 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. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, tennis and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.
■ Avoid substance abuse. Don’t smoke. Avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day.
Enlist your doctor’s help
If you’re concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, including a
recent bone fracture, consult the 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.
The author is a Sr .Consultant of Joint Replacement and Arthroscopic Surgery