Osteoporosis – A Major Risk Among Seniors
Regular exercise and physical activity help in keeping your bones strong and intact. Although bones look solid from the outside, they are essentially built in a similar way to that of a honeycomb, filled with holes. At a younger age, these tiny holes inside the bone are compact and tightly structured. However, with growing age, reduction in physical activities, and improper diet, these holes tend to become bigger. While smaller holes provide greater bone density, making your bones stronger, bigger/wider holes constitute lower bone density and fragile bones. Some of the leading orthopedic doctors, including Dr Sandeep Kapoor, leading bone specialist of Lucknow, recommends frequent consultations with your dietitian to maintain a proper diet for bone safety.
When the tiny holes in the bones get bigger and the solid outer layer of the bone keeps getting thinner, the bones become drastically weak. Hard bones become soft, and already soft bones become brittle. This leads to more fractures caused by minor falls. When the loss of bone density goes too far, it is called Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a common occurrence among the elderly. Broken bones due to osteoporosis can lead to further serious health problems in seniors. One of the most common areas for osteoporosis is the hips. Hip joint injuries and fractures can lead to a case of disability and loss of mobility. One of the most important hormones responsible for building and rebuilding bones is estrogen. Among women, the level of estrogen falls drastically after they hit menopause, making them more vulnerable to osteoporosis. But men are susceptible to this bone disease too.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Bones are in an ever-renewal state. This means new bones are being made, and old bones are being disintegrated within your body as we speak. Young age speeds up the process of bone-building and rebuilding. The body build bones faster than it breaks them down and your bone mass is at a high too. This however changes post-20s. After the age of 30, upon reaching the peak bone density, loss in bone density is much faster.
Several factors can increase your vulnerability towards developing osteoporosis. Here is a list of some of the major risk factors of developing Osteoporosis:
Factors such as your age, sex, genetic history and size of body frame are things that you cannot change. However, these factors play a huge role in determining the health and density of bones.
Even though bones are comparatively stronger during our young ages, adequate care of bones should still be taken. A haphazard diet, eating disorders, and not consuming a calcium-rich balanced diet can result in higher chances of developing osteoporosis. Consulting with a bone specialist or a dietician to chalk out a balanced meal for the day, is highly recommended across all ages.
Medications and Medical Condition
Often certain medical conditions demand the intake of high dosage steroid and medicines which can affect your bone density. Kidney and liver diseases, seizures, inflammatory bowel, etc. are just some of the medical conditions which leave the patients vulnerable to Osteoporosis.
Most of our modern life activities are sedentary. This leads to poor bone health and higher risks of osteoporosis. Other than this, excessive alcohol consumptions and tobacco usage can also lead to brittle bones. Therefore, leading a healthy lifestyle with minimum alcohol and no substance abuse can keep your bones healthy for a long time.
Here are some minor changes that you can adapt to keep your bone density intact.
Proper nutrition through a balanced diet and timely intake of meals without disrupting your food-consumption cycle, is the key to h=not only a healthy life, but also healthy bones. Protein and calcium are two of the most recommended nutrients for stronger bones.
Essentially known as the building block of your body, protein helps in growing your muscles and keeping your bones strong. While most people consume protein through meat and dairy products, vegetarians and vegans often suffer from the lack of it. Soy, nuts, legumes, lentils are some of the protein-rich meat substitutes. Older people might also have dietary restrictions which prevent them from consuming high-protein meals. In such cases, consulting with a bone specialist or a dietician for a supplementation option is always a good idea.
Humans, irrespective of gender, between the ages of 15-40 require almost 1000 milligrams of calcium per day. While this is the requirement during the growing and peaking stages, post 40, the daily requirement of calcium consumption rises to 1200 milligrams. Some of the calcium-rich food includes low-fat dairy products like milk and yoghurt, dark green leafy veggies, soy, salmon, sardines, and calcium-based cereals. To monitor your calcium intake, following a diet chart can be helpful. According to health experts, the total consumption of calcium from supplements and diet should be no more than 2000 milligrams for people above the age of 50.
Exercising and Physical Activities
A combination of weight-bearing and strength-training exercises can work wonders for your bones. While strength training mainly focuses on strengthening your muscles and bones, weight-bearing exercises like jogging, walking, climbing stairs, skipping rope etc. mainly focusses on your hips, legs, and spinal strength. Bone specialist and physiotherapists generally recommend swimming, jogging, and cycling for keeping your bones healthy. These are full-body workouts that improve your balance, flexibility, and agility, preventing the breakage of bone from falls and accidents.
Many things can affect the health and density of your bones. Minute dietary and lifestyle changes can assure you healthy and strong bones for a lifetime. Older people generally suffer from fractures and further health complications from a minor fall due to lower body balance and flexibility. For more information on bones and how to take care of them, contact the leading orthopaedic surgeon and bone specialist in Lucknow, Dr Sandeep Kapoor.