Osteoporosis is the condition whereby you are more likely to break bones, from falls or bumps, as the bones have weakened. Bones lose strength as the bone cell renewal is outweighed by the cell loss.
To explain that further, bones are living tissue and like all cells repair and renew continually to maintain healthy bone tissue. Until we are in our 30s the repair and renew is in balance. Then as we get older the balance shifts …..less renewal. There is a point at which this bone mass decline results in osteoporosis. Your Doctor can make an assessment and has diagnostic tools for the condition.
In the UK Osteoporosis affects 3m people. 1 in 3 women have broken a bone due to osteoporosis in her lifetime (wrists, hips, spine most common). For females besides ageing the “thinning” of bones is also impacted by genes, body weight, smoking, drinking and the menopause.
In the menopause with the oestrogen levels dropping, this leads to greater bone mass reduction making bones less strong. During the first 5 years of the menopause a woman will lose 10% of her bone mass and so increase their risk of developing osteoporosis. Read my experience of the menopause here.
A balanced diet! Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones. Sources of calcium are
- Milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Calcium-enriched milks such as soya, rice or oats
- Fish that are eaten with the bones in, like tinned sardines.
- Leafy green vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, watercress, kale
- Beans and chick peas
- Some nuts and seeds
Vitamin D (sunshine) is important for bone health as it helps to absorb calcium (see above). Our bodies create vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. In the spring and summer if you go outside for at least 20 minutes, three times a week, every week most people will get enough vitamin D from the sun. You can’t get adequate vitamin D from the occasional sunshine holiday!
Foods rich in Vitamin D such as fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon, cheese, egg yolks, red meat, liver and foods fortified with Vitamin D (some cereals and dairy products) will also help boost the correct levels of Vitamin D.
Stay mobile! Regular exercise is important for all adults. Weight bearing exercise and resistance exercises are great for bone health, improving bone intensity, bone strength and preventing osteoporosis. As we get older it is important to maintain balance and strength,
keep functionally fit!
Weight bearing exercises;
- Running, dancing, skipping
And resistance exercises;
- Press ups, bodyweight moves
- Weight lifting
- Gym weights
- Resistance bands
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis you must take advice from your Doctor before undertaking a new exercise regime. I belong to a great online gym which offers these sorts of training, take a look here
Also quit smoking and reduce you alcohol intake! For more information and advice check here
And finally consider Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Many studies have shown that HRT can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. The best resource to read more on this is here.
Diet, sleep, physical activity, relaxation (see my 4 Pillars of Health blog) are all so important for the best health outcomes…………….so let this be your badge of honour ” BE less busy”.
Osteoporosis – what do you know about it?
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