If you have a family member who has bone problems, you could also be at risk. Some medical conditions can also make you prone to bone disease. Many types of physical activity can contribute to bone health, but most people are not active enough. When you think of bones, you might imagine a hard, brittle skeleton. In reality, your bones are living organs. They are alive with cells and flowing body fluids. Bones are constantly renewed and grow stronger with a good diet and physical activity. After your mids, you begin to slowly lose bone mass.
Women lose bone mass faster after menopause, but it happens to men too. The amount of calcium that makes up your bones is the measure of how strong they are. But your muscles and nerves must also have calcium and phosphorus to work. If these are in short supply from foods you eat, your body simply takes them from your bones. Each day calcium is deposited and withdrawn from your bones.
Our bodies build up calcium in our bones efficiently until we are about 30 years old. Then our bodies stop adding new bone. But healthy habits can help us keep the bone we have. There is some natural bone loss as women and men age.
Your Bones – Updated and Expanded Edition – Axios Press
The most common breaks in weak bones are in the wrist, spine, and hip. Broken bones in your spine are painful and very slow to heal. People with weak bones in their spine gradually lose height and their posture becomes hunched over. Over time a bent spine can make it hard to walk or even sit up. Broken hips are a very serious problem as we age. They greatly increase the risk of death, especially during the year after they break. People who break a hip might not recover for months or even years.
Because they often cannot care for themselves, they are more likely to have to live in a nursing home. Too many of us assume we are not at risk for bone loss or fractures. Because there are no obvious warning signs, even doctors often miss signs of the problem. Most of us have our blood pressure and cholesterol checked for heart health. Testing bone density is an important way to check for bone health. The risk of osteoporosis is highest among women.
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It is also higher for whites and Asians than other groups. See "Are you at risk for weak bones? In addition, your calcium and vitamin D intake, level of physical activity, and medications should all be evaluated. When you jump, run, or lift a weight, it puts stress on your bones.
This sends a signal to your body that your bones need to be made stronger. New cells are added to strengthen your bones.
- Your Bones – Updated and Expanded Edition – Axios Press.
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If you are right-handed, the bones in your right arm are slightly larger and stronger from the extra use. To keep your bones strong, eat foods rich in calcium. Some people have trouble digesting the lactose found in milk and other dairy foods, including cheese and yogurt. Most supermarkets sell lactose-reduced dairy foods.
Many nondairy foods are also calcium-rich. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. As you grow older, your need for vitamin D goes up. Vitamin D is made by your skin when you are in the sun. For many, especially seniors, getting enough vitamin D from sunlight is not practical. Almost all milk and some other foods are fortified with vitamin D. If you are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, supplements can be bone savers.
People of all ages need to know what they can do to have strong bones. You are never too old or too young to improve your bone health. Bone growth starts before babies are born. Premature and low-birth-weight infants often need extra calcium, phosphorus, and protein to help them catch up on the nutrients they need for strong bones. Breastfed babies get the calcium and nutrients they need for good bone health from their mothers.
Most baby formula contains calcium and vitamin D. Good bone health starts early in life with good habits. While children and young adults rarely get bone diseases, kids can develop habits that endanger their health and bones. Parents can help by encouraging kids to eat healthful food and get at least an hour of physical activity every day. Jumping rope, running, and sports are fun activities that are great for building strong bones.
Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis & Have Strong Bones for Life Naturally
Children need the amount of calcium equal to 3 servings of low-fat milk each day. If your child is allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, talk to your pediatrician about milk substitutes. Children should get at least an hour of physical activity every day. Adults should get at least 30 minutes every day. Teens are especially at risk for not developing strong bones because their bones are growing so rapidly.
Boys and girls from ages 9 to 18 need 1, milligrams of calcium each day, more than any other age group. Parents can help teens by making sure they eat 4 servings of calciumrich and vitamin D-fortified foods a day. At least 1 hour a day of physical activities—like running, skateboarding, sports, and dance—is also critical. In young women, this situation can lead to a damaging lack of menstrual periods. Teens who miss adding bone to their skeletons during these critical years never make it up. Adulthood is a time when we need to look carefully at our bone health.
As adults, we need 1, to 1, milligrams of calcium, depending on our age, and at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Activity that puts some stress on your bones is very important. Many women over age 50 are at risk for bone disease, but few know it. Because hormones help protect bones, menopause can lead to bone loss.
Hormone therapy was widely used to prevent this loss, but now it is known to increase other risks. Your doctor can help advise you on protecting bone health around menopause.
Seniors can take steps to help prevent bone problems. Physical activity and diet are vital to bone health in older adults. Calcium, together with vitamin D, helps reduce bone loss. Activities that put stress on bones keep them strong. Find time for activities like walking, dancing, and gardening. Strengthening your body helps prevent falls. Protecting yourself against falls is key to avoiding a broken hip or wrist. All women over age 65 should have a bone density test.
Seniors should also know that recent studies conclude that anyone over age 50 should increase his or her vitamin D intake to International Units IU per day. After age 70, IU per day are needed. You can prevent most falls. Falls are not just the result of getting older. But as you age, falls become more dangerous. Most falls can be prevented.
By changing some of the things listed here, you can lower the chances of falling for you or someone you love. Poor vision increases your risk of falling. You could be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. The average American eats too little calcium. And nearly half of us do not get enough physical activity to strengthen our bones. The same healthy lifestyle that strengthens your bones strengthens your whole body. You might not hear as much about bone health as other health concerns.
But healthy habits are good for all your organs, including your bones. Make yourself an exception. Be aware of your risks and work to reduce them. Get help from your family and friends and your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care professional.
Building healthy bones begins at birth and lasts your whole life. Talk to your doctor about bone health. Together you can evaluate your risks. Some things to discuss include your current health, your diet and physical activity levels, and your family background. Your doctor can look at your age, weight, height, and medical history. From that he or she can determine if you need a bone density test.
If you break a bone after the age of 50, talk to your doctor about measuring your bone density.
Even if you broke a bone in an accident, you might have weak bones. It is worth checking. Your doctor might recommend a medical test called a bone mineral density test. Bone density tests use x-rays or sound waves to measure how strong your bones are.
Your Bones – Updated and Expanded Edition
Save Episode. Episode Info Episode Info: In Episode 92 of the Real World Wellness Podcast part two of a series on Christine's journey with chronic conditions , she shares what she has learned recently about osteopenia and osteoporosis. Christine explains her recent DXA scan results and what the numbers mean, serious side-effects of conventional osteoporosis medications, important nutrients to include in your diet for optimal bone mass density and what to avoid.
She also recommends specific supplement and food sources of calcium and vitamins K and D and exercises designed for people with osteoporosis. Next episode will kick off a month-long series on perimenopausal hormonal health. Episode Info: In Episode 92 of the Real World Wellness Podcast part two of a series on Christine's journey with chronic conditions , she shares what she has learned recently about osteopenia and osteoporosis. Discover more stories like this. Like Stitcher On Facebook.
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