Many people see bone health as a ‘later problem’ that emerges only as we age. However, making active steps to improve our bone health as soon as possible can protect us from the risk of fractures and osteoporosis down the line.
Bone health can be inherited so you should consider if you have a family history of osteoporosis. If anyone in your family has ever been diagnosed with osteoporosis, broken a bone from a minor fall or rapidly lost height as they aged, this can indicate low bone density.
It is true that for women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
Essentially, from your 40s onwards, our bones gradually lose their density as a natural part of ageing so the following tips are a great way to begin caring for your bones and making the most of every day.
Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Young women and men who exercise regularly generally achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not. For most, bone mass peaks during our 30’s and after that we can begin to lose bone.
Studies in older men and women who performed weight-bearing exercise showed increases in bone mineral density, bone strength and bone size, as well as reductions in markers of bone turnover and inflammation. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises include:
Not only can exercise improve your bone health, it can also increase muscle strength, coordination, and balance, and lead to better overall health.
Vitamin Sunshine! Your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium. Your skin makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight; this is your main source of vitamin D however it can also be found in oily fish, liver, fortified spreads and cereals, and egg yolks.
It is important to balance the need for sun exposure for vitamin D, while at the same time avoiding the risk of skin damage
Going for a short walk outside and enjoying the air can be a great way to top up!
If you eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables, you should be getting enough of the nutrients you need every day, but if you’re not getting the recommended amount from food alone, you may need to complement your diet by taking multivitamins or supplements.
Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones. Most of us need 2-3 serves of milk, yoghurt and cheese and/or alternatives a day. Calcium is found in a number of different foods including dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, and tofu.
If you can’t get the recommended amount of calcium from your diet you may need to take a calcium supplement, particularly if you have low bone density. Talk to one of our doctors about whether you need a calcium supplement and what the right dose is for you.
Osteoporosis is the most common disease that harms the bones and can cause them to become weak and fragile and more likely to break as we age. It has no symptoms so the first clue may be that you fracture a bone. This affects mostly older women, but prevention starts when you are younger. Broken bones from osteoporosis cause serious health problems and disability in older women.
Following the above tips, you can help support your bones and make the most of each day going forward.
If you’re concerned about your bone health or your risk factors, don’t hesitate to chat with our certified GP’s. You can book a telehealth consultation anytime of the day or night with any one of our online doctors. Our doctors can also provide referrals for more specialised medical issues relating to osteoporosis and none health, so you don’t have to leave your home to find the right treatment for you.
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