Factors that affect bone health and tips to keep your bones healthy
Bones perform multiple functions in the human body, including giving structure, safeguarding organs, holding muscles, and storing calcium. While it is vital to maintain stronger and healthier bones throughout childhood and teenage years, you may need to protect your bone health during adulthood.
How important is bone health?
Almost all the bones in our body change continuously, replacing old bones with new ones. At a younger age, the pace of making new bones is faster than the pace of breaking down old ones, and eventually, the bone mass will increase. By the time people reach their thirties, most of them reach their maximum bone mass. As you age, remodeling of your bones continues, but less bone mass is gained than lost.
One of the common bone conditions is osteoporosis, in which your bones become brittle and weak. This condition mainly depends on the amount of bone mass you gain within 30 years and the rate at which you lose it after that. If your peak bone mass is higher, the likelihood of developing osteoporosis reduces as you grow older.
Factors that affect bone health
The health of bones can be affected by several factors. For instance:
The calcium quantity in your regular diet – low calcium diet results in the destruction of bone density, bone loss at a young age, and the risk of fractures also increases.
Lower physical activity – If you are physically inactive for a longer period, the risk of developing osteoporosis is higher than that of active individuals.
Alcohol consumption and tobacco use – According to researchers use of tobacco and its products make your bones weak. Similarly, alcohol consumption might also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis in men and women.
Gender – being a female increases the risk of osteoporosis because females have lower bone density than men.
Body size – People who are extremely thin, i.e., BMI ≤ 19, or with a body frame that is small, can have a negative impact on bone health because they may have insufficient bone mass to draw upon as they age.
Increasing age – You lose the density of your bones as you age which eventually makes your bones thick and weak.
Race and family history – white or Asian descent are at higher risk of acquiring osteoporosis. In addition, if any of your family members has osteoporosis, then there are chances that it may affect you — mainly if fractures run in your family.
Fluctuations in hormone levels – Excess thyroid hormone might lead to bone loss. As estrogen levels drop during menopause, bone loss in women accelerates rapidly. Menstruation cessation, a condition known as amenorrhea prior to puberty, increases the chance of developing osteoporosis. Lower testosterone levels can also contribute to bone loss in men.
Eating disorders and other conditions – Both men and women lose their bone density when they severely restrict food intake and are underweight. The body’s ability to absorb calcium might also be affected by conditions such as celiac disease and after undergoing weight loss surgery.
Certain medications – When you use certain medications like prednisone and dexamethasone for a long-time, they can damage your bone. Other drugs used to treat breast cancer and some anti-seizure medications also negatively affect your bone health.
How can I maintain healthy bones?
Simple steps can be taken to slow or prevent bone loss. For example:
You should include calcium in your diet regularly. The minimum quantity of calcium for people of age between 19 to 70 is 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day. But the recommended quantity of calcium increases to 1,200 mg a day for women of age 51 years and above and men of age 71 years and older.
The calcium-rich products include:
- Dairy products
- Canned salmon with bones
- Soy products, such as tofu
Your doctor may recommend calcium supplements if you have trouble getting enough calcium through your diet.
Vitamin D is important for your body as it absorbs calcium from the food you consume. For people of age between 19 to 70 require 15 mcg of vitamin D per day. The quantity increases to 20 mcg per day for people of age 71 and older.
Vitamin D rich sources include:
- Oily fish like salmon with bones, trout, and tuna fish
- Fortified cereals
Sunlight also triggers the production of vitamin D in your body. If you are not receiving enough Vitamin D from your diet, your doctor may advise you to take supplements.
Maintaining a regular physical activity schedule – regular exercises are the only way to stay active. So practicing simple exercises like walking, jogging, or even climbing stairs daily also aids in building stronger bones and slows down bone loss.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle – Quit smoking and drinking. Never drink more than one alcohol drink a day unless you can’t avoid it.
If you are worried about your bone health or if you have risks of osteoporosis which include a recent bone fracture, consult Dr. Ajay Kumar Tiwari, the best bone doctor in Hyderabad. He suggests a bone density test. Using the results, he will evaluate your bone density and estimate the rate of bone loss. By considering the results and other risk factors, he will suggest medication, and some other tips to slow down the rate of bone loss.