Bone health is important to overall health and quality of life. It provides a frame that permits mobility and protects the internal organs from injury, while being a storage for minerals vital to the self-sustaining functions of daily life. However, Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease that is characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of the structure of bone tissue (trabecular tissue) which leads to risk of fracture and increased bone fragility. It is most common to women (postmenopausal osteoporosis) that can often be prevented. However, if undetected, it can progress for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs.
Here are ways that we can prevent it:
Diet and Supplements
Calcium intake is the mainstay of Osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Vitamin D supplementation and Sun exposure may contribute as well. Daily intake of Vitamin D facilitates absorption and mineralization of the bone. It is also found in liver, fatty fish, egg yolks, milk and orange juice.
The recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D for adults are as follows:
1. For pre-menopausal women 25-50 years old and post-menopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy, 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day with 400 i.u. of Vitamin D. 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day is recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
2. For postmenopausal women less than age 65 not on estrogen replacement therapy, 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day is recommended along with 400-800 i.u. of Vitamin D.
3. For men ages 25-65, 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day is recommended.
4. For all people (women and men) over age 65, 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day.
Live a healthy lifestyle with moderate Alcohol Consumption and no smoking. Cigarette smoke generates large amounts of free radicals – molecules that attack and overwhelm the body’s natural defenses. The result is a chain-reaction of damage throughout the body — including cells (osteoblast), organs (i.e liver), and hormones (calcitonin) involved in keeping bones healthy. Moderate alcohol intake (usually defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men) is beneficial. However, taken excessively disrupts with the balance of calcium absorption, an essential nutrient for healthy bones. It also increases parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels, which in turn reduce the body’s calcium reserves.
Studies of postmenopausal women report that aerobic, weight-bearing, and strength training exercise can increase bone mineral density in the spine and hip. When you exercise, you don’t just build muscle and endurance, you also build and maintain the amount and thickness of your bones (bone mass and density), increase joint flexibility, and balance, and prevents falls. Examples of weight bearing exercises are walking in the park or using treadmill, jogging, playing tennis, football, Tai Chi, climbing stairs and weight lifting. However, bicycling and swimming can be a great exercise but they are not weight bearing therefore not as effective in bone health benefits. Duration of 30 to 45 minutes a day and 3 or 4 times a week would be beneficial.
Prevention is better than cure. Why would we wait for our bones to weaken?
Let’s start treating our bones the right exercise and diet that they deserve!
Senior Fitness Manager
Fitness First Platinum – Dubai Media City