Hey friends, today we’re talking bone health! Our bones serve several purposes including providing structure and movement, protecting our vital organs and serving as a reserve of important minerals for our many bodily functions.
The majority of our bone mass is built in our younger years with most of us reaching peak bone density by the age of 30. There after the process of bone break down outpaces bone building and we slowly begin to lose bone mass. There are certain factors that may put an individual at increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. These include both problems creating adequate bone strength as well as conditions leading to excessive bone loss. Examples include the following:
- Inadequate calcium intake, at any age.
- A sedentary lifestyle lacking in physical activity.
- Use of tobacco and/or too much alcohol.
- Being very thin or having small bone structure.
- Certain medical conditions like hyperthyroidism or premature menopause.
- A history of an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa.
- Use of certain medications such as glucocorticoids (“steroids”) and antiseizure medications.
There are also certain factors that put us at increased risk but are out of our control such as family history, age, gender, and ethnicity. In general, older women are at increased risk, especially Caucasian and Asian women.
And although it’s important to work hard at creating strong healthy bones during childhood, it’s also a good idea to take appropriate steps to protect those bones as an adult! The good news is that no matter our age, there is plenty we can do to protect our bones! Here are a few tips to consider:
- Eat foods rich in calcium such as dairy products, and foods and drinks with added calcium. Most adults should shoot for between 1000 -1500 mg of calcium daily. If you ae not reaching this in diet alone then talk to your HCP about whether or not a supplement might be appropriate.
- Consider a vitamin D supplement as it’s near impossible to attain adequate levels through the sun or our diet.
- Just like our muscles get stronger with exercise, so do our bones! So make sure to get plenty of weight bearing exercise like walking, jogging or dancing. Shoot for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Avoid tobacco and as a woman limit alcohol to 1 beverage a day.
- Take precautions to avoid falls. You won’t fracture if you don’t fall and most falls can be prevented. Take a few minutes and check your home for dangers like loose rugs and poor lighting.
- Discuss your bone health with your HCP to determine if you have any additional risk factors and when you should consider screening with a bone density test.
I encourage you to adopt “One Small Change”, because it’s never too late to begin investing in your bones! Cheers to better bone health friends!!