Bones play great roles in the body —structural, protecting your organs, anchoring your muscles and storing calcium for the optimal functioning of the bone. Though it is essential to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can improve your bone health during adulthood.
Importance of bone health
Note that new bone cells are formed continuously while old bone cells are broken down; therefore your bones are always changing. Your body generates bone faster than it breaks down old ones at young age, and this effect leads to increase in your bone mass. At about the age of 30, a lot of people reach their full bone mass. The restructuring of the bones continue afterward, but you lose considerably more bone mass than you will gain.
From the age of 30 and beyond, your bone and the rate at which it sheds will determine the possibility of you developing osteoporosis (a bone disorder characterized by weakness and brittleness of bone). So, the bone you have from childhood is more like a store; the larger the amount, the better.
Factors affecting bone health
There are several factors that determine your bone health and these factors are broadly classified into two. Modifiable and non-modifiable factors. The modifiable factors are the ones you can influence through diet, exercise, and so on. While non-modifiable factors are genetic and you have little influence over them.
1. Calcium levels in your food
Diets with low-calcium intake leads to decreased bone density, increased fracture risk, and early loss of bone.
2. Physical activity
Individuals that are physically inactive are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than those that are always active.
3. Cigarettes and alcohol intake
The result of many researches have linked the consumption of cigarettes to brittles in the bone. Also, drinking more than a cup of alcoholic beverage per day for females or two cups of alcoholic beverages a day for males may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. The moderate amount of alcohol intake is a cup and two cups daily for male and females respectively.
Also, since females have little bone tissues compared to males, you are more likely to develop osteoporosis as a woman.
If you are exceptionally thin (BMI of 19 and below) or even have a small physical structure, you are more at risk because you have minimal bone mass to draw from as you become older.
5. Family history and race
If you are white or Asian, you are more likely to get osteoporosis. Also, having an osteoporosis-affected sibling or parents puts you at higher risk, particularly if you have a family background of fractures.
6. Hormone concentrations
Excess production of thyroid hormones leads to osteoporosis due to its ability to enhance bone loss. Also, bone loss is enhanced in women during menopause due to diminished estrogen level. In females, abnormal menstruation or absence of menstruation for a long duration of time before the onset of menopause is a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis. And men with low levels of testosterone have increased risk of developing bone brittleness.
7. Eating disorders
Both males and females lose bone mass when they severely limit their intake of food and are underweight. Surgeries aimed at weight loss, as well as illnesses like celiac disease, might impair your body from absorbing enough calcium.
8. Medications include
Long-term usage of corticosteroids drugs such cortisone, prednisolone, prednisone, and dexamethasone can cause bone damage. Aromatase inhibitors used for the management of breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, various anti-seizure drugs like Dilatin and phenobarbital, as well as proton pump inhibitors are all medications that may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
How to increase your bone health
Here are some simple, yet effective steps to help boost your bone health and prevent future damage to the bone cells.
1. Calcium should be a big part of your diet
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for individuals between the aged of 19 and 50 as well as men between the ages 51 and 70 is 1,000 mg of calcium each day. But women that are above the age of seventy one, have a daily requirement of 1,200 mg.
Dairy products, broccoli, almonds, tinned salmon with bones, kale, soy products like tofu and sardines, are all good sources of calcium. If you're having trouble getting sufficient calcium through your diet, consider taking supplements.
2. Take adequate vitamin for calcium absorption
The RDA for vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) per day for individuals aged 19-70. For people aged 71 and up, the daily dose is increased to 800 IUs.
Oily fish, like trout, salmon, tuna, and whitefish, are excellent sources of vitamin D. Eggs, Mushrooms, and fortified foods like cereals and milk are other excellent sources of vitamin D. Sunlight also aids in the creation of vitamin D in the body. And if you seem to be deficient in Vitamin D, consider taking supplements to boost your vitamin D levels.
3. Include physical activity in your daily routine
Jogging, walking, and stair climbing are all exercises that can help you to slow down bone loss while growing strong bones.
4. Avoid substance abuse
Please don't smoke. If you're a woman, limit yourself to a cup of alcoholic drink each day and nothing more. If you are a man, limit yourself to two cups of alcoholic drinks each day. Drive your life safely!
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