What is bone health?

Bones play many roles in the body - providing construction, protecting organs, anchoring muscles, and keeping it. While it's crucial to build strong and healthy bones at an early age, it is possible to take action during maturity to protect bone health. Safeguarding your bone health is simpler than you think. Know how diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass. 

Why is bone health important?

Our bones encourage us and let us move. They protect our minds, heart, and other organs from trauma. Our bones also store minerals like calcium and phosphorous, which help keep our bones strong, and discharge them in the body when we need them for additional applications.

There are several things we can do to keep our bones strong and healthy. Eating foods packed with calcium and vitamin D, getting a lot of exercise, and good health habits keep our bones healthy. But if we do not eat right and do not get enough of the right types of exercise, our bones tend to become weak and eventually break. Broken bones (called fractures) can be debilitating and occasionally require surgery to heal. They can also result in long-lasting health issues. But the great news is it is never too late to care for your bones.

See: Ayurveda for Osteoarthritis treatment

Why do bones become weak?

Your bones are constantly changing - new bone is made, and old bone is broken down. When you are young, the body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most individuals reach their maximum bone mass around age 30. After age 30, as bone remodeling continues, you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.

Your chances to develop osteoporosis - a condition that causes bones to become weak and fragile - depends on key factors. How much bone mass did you achieve by the time you reach age 30?  How quickly you lose it then? If your peak bone mass is at a high level, you have more bone as reserves, and you have lower chances to have osteoporosis as you age.

See: Combatting Osteoporosis with Weight Training

Bone health key factors

What influences bone health?

A range of factors can influence bone health. For example:

The quantity of calcium in your daily diet: A low-calcium diet leads to diminished bone density, premature bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures.

Physical action. Physically inactive people have a greater risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.

Tobacco and alcohol use. Research indicates that tobacco use leads to weak bones. In the same way, frequently having more than one alcoholic drink per day for women or two alcoholic drinks daily for men may increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Age. Your bones become weaker as you age.

Gender. You are at greater risk of osteoporosis if you are a woman because women have less bone tissue than men.

Size. You are at risk if you're incredibly thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame since you have less bone mass to draw out as you get older.

Hormone levels. Excessive thyroid hormone can lead to bone loss. Bone loss increases dramatically in women at menopause because of dropping estrogen levels. A prolonged absence of menstruation before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can lead to a loss of bone mass.

Family history. Your risk of osteoporosis is higher if you are of Asian descent or white. Additionally, a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at higher risk -- especially if you have a family history of fractures.

Eating disorders and other ailments: People with anorexia or bulimia are at a higher risk of bone loss. Some conditions can also affect your body's ability to absorb calcium, such as stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss operation, and conditions like Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and Cushing's disease.

Medications. Long-term intake of corticosteroid drugs, such as cortisone, prednisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone, is damaging to bone. Other drugs that may increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), and proton pump inhibitors (PPI).

See: Prevention of osteoporosis: the calcium controversy.

What is osteoporosis?

There are various types of bone diseases. The most frequent one is osteoporosis. With osteoporosis, your bones become weak and have a higher chance of breaking. Individuals with osteoporosis often break bones in the wrist, spine, and hip.

Our bones are living. Each day, our body breaks down old bone and sets new bone in its place. As we age, our bones break down more bone than they put back. It's normal to get rid of some bone as we get older. But if we don't take action to keep our bones healthy, we could lose too much bone and get osteoporosis.

Lots of individuals have weak bones and do not even know it. That is because bone loss often happens over an extended period and does not hurt. For a lot of individuals, a broken bone is the first indication that they have osteoporosis.

See: Green Leafy Vegetables Health Benefits

Who gets osteoporosis?

Several things could boost your chances of getting osteoporosis. Some risk factors are factors you can control, and others are out of your control.

Risk factors you can control:

Diet. Getting too little calcium may improve your chances of getting osteoporosis. Not getting enough vitamin D may also raise your risk for the illness. Vitamin D is critical because it helps the body use the calcium in your daily diet.

Physical activity. Not exercising rather than being active for extended periods can boost your chances of getting osteoporosis. Like muscles, bones become more powerful -- and remain more powerful -- with regular exercise.

Body fat. Being too thin increases your chances of getting osteoporosis.

Smoking. Smoking cigarettes may keep your body from using the calcium in your daily diet. Additionally, women who smoke go through menopause earlier than people who don't smoke. These items can increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Alcohol. People who consume a lot are more likely to get osteoporosis.

Medicines. Certain medicines can lead to bone loss. These include a kind of medication called glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are given to individuals who have asthma, arthritis, and several other diseases. Some other medications that prevent seizures that treat endometriosis, a disorder of the uterus and cancer can also lead to bone loss.


Risk factors you can't control:

Age. Your odds of getting osteoporosis increase as you get older.

Gender. You have a higher likelihood of getting osteoporosis if you're a woman. Women tend to have smaller bones and lose bone faster than men because of hormone changes that occur after menopause.

Ethnicity. White and Asian women are at an elevated risk of having osteoporosis. 

Family history. Having a close relative with osteoporosis or has broken a bone may also increase your risk.


Assessing your risk: As more women get osteoporosis than men, many men start to believe they're not at risk for the illness. Many Hispanic and African American women aren't concerned about their bones. They think that obesity is only a problem for white girls. However, it's a risk for elderly people from all backgrounds. Also, people from particular cultural backgrounds may be more likely to have other health issues that increase their risk for bone loss, consult your doctor about your bone health if you have a condition listed below:

Lung disease.

Multiple sclerosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis.

Hyperparathyroidism.

Alcoholism.

Anorexia nervosa.

Asthma/allergies.

Hyperthyroidism.

Inflammatory bowel disease.

Lactose intolerance.

Lupus.

Cancer.

Cushing's disease.

Diabetes.

Liver or liver disease.

See: Diet and Nutrition Plan for Endometrial Cysts and Low Bone Density

How to find if you have osteoporosis?

Since osteoporosis doesn't show any symptoms until a bone breaks, it's important to speak with your doctor about your bone health. Your doctor may order a test for bone density if your doctor feels that you may be at risk for osteoporosis. A bone density test measures how strong or dense your bones are and if you have osteoporosis. It can also let you know what your chances are of breaking a bone. Bone density tests are fast, safe, and painless.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment For Arthritis

How can I make my bones healthier?

How to keep your bones healthy?

It's never too late to care for your bones. These measures can help you improve your bone health:

- Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products and foods and beverages with additional calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include liver, egg yolks, saltwater fish,  and milk with vitamin D. Some people might want to take nutritional supplements to get enough calcium and vitamin D. The graphs below show how much calcium and vitamin D you will need every day. Fruits and vegetables also contribute to other nutrients that are important for bone health.

- Good sources of calcium

Tortillas.

Sardines/salmon with edible bones.

Shrimp.

Chinese cabbage or bok choy.

Tofu (calcium-fortified).

Green leafy vegetables (e.g., mustard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale).

Soy milk (calcium-fortified).

Beans/legumes.

Orange juice (calcium-fortified).

Pizza.

Bread.

Nuts/almonds.

Dairy products (e.g., milk, cheese, yogurt).


You can take a few straightforward actions to prevent or slow bone loss.

- Include lots of calcium in your daily diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance)  is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium every day for adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70. The recommendation raises to 1,200 mg per day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70. Good sources of calcium include broccoli, kale, dairy products, almonds, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu. Ask your doctor about dietary supplements if your diet lacks enough calcium.

- Your body also needs vitamin D's help to absorb calcium. Pay attention to vitamin D. For adults ages 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) per day. The recommendation raises to 800 IUs per day for adults age 71 and more. Excellent natural sources of vitamin D include oily fish, like trout, salmon, whitefish, and tuna. Mushrooms, eggs, cereals, and milk, are also great sources of vitamin D. Natural sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, too. If you're concerned about having enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about dietary supplements.

- Include physical activity in your everyday routine. Weight-bearing exercises, like walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.

- Prevent substance abuse. Do not smoke. If you're a woman, avoid drinking more than one alcoholic beverage every day. If you are a guy, avoid drinking more than two alcoholic beverages per day.

- Enlist your doctor's help

See: Vitamin D deficiency and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women receiving aromatase inhibitors for early breast cancer.

Summary

If bone health is a worry due to your risk factors for osteoporosis, such as a current bone fracture, ask your physician. They might recommend a bone density test. The results will help your physician evaluate your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss.

See: Kale Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts

References

If bone health is a worry due to your risk factors for osteoporosis, such as a current bone fracture, ask your physician. They might recommend a bone density test. The results will help your physician evaluate your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss.

See: Salmon Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

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