What Is Bone health?
Bones act as splendid biological parts of the body to store calcium, anchor muscles, protect organs, and deliver body structure. To ensure that our bones are healthy, they keep on changing their size, shape, and position throughout life. New bones in the body keep forming as old bones deteriorate. Younger people develop new bones faster while the old bones break. This increases the bone density.
After a certain age, the bones in the body start depleting, but some develop various disorders, which deplete the bone mass faster compared to the normal speed. Depletion in bone health is generally characterized by two major disorders. These are:
- Osteopenia: Osteopenia is a medical disorder in which the mineral and protein content of the bone tissue reduces but not that severely. A person with osteopenia may not necessarily witness a bone fracture but still, the condition defects the bone health.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is marked as a more severe condition than osteopenia and the bones become very weak in the former condition. This is due to the loss of vitamin D and calcium leading to a more severe case and permanent damage of the bone tissue. This results in progressive depletion of the bone density.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bone health?
Depletion in bone health can be determined by a number of factors. Some of these symptoms have been mentioned below:
- Decreased grip strength: As people grow older, there are chances of the weakening of bones unless a healthy nutrition-intake is not part of the diet. One of the main ways of judging the weakening of bones is checking the grip strength as it involves the use of bones and muscles in the arms and hands. If a patient feels that the grip strength is depleting, then there are chances that he/she is suffering from bone health depletion.
- Bone pain: Bone pain is one of the main symptoms of the disintegration of bone health and the main reason behind it is the deficiency of vitamin D from the body.
- Decreased height: This case arises if the person is severely affected by bone health depletion. Height loss occurs when the bone tissue is reduced progressively leading to a reduction in overall height.
- Brittle and weak fingernails: If a patient's fingernails are easily breaking and losing their grip with the bone tissue, then it is likely that the person is suffering from bone loss.
- Bone fracture/ brittle bones: If bone fractures occur more often in the person, then his/her bone health may not be in a good condition.
- Receding gums: Receding gums is not an uncommon symptom. While it may not be the main symptoms for bone health disintegration, it does count as an important symptom.
What Are The Causes Of Bone health?
Bone health disintegration causes and possible risks are mentioned below:
- Menopause: Oestrogen produced in women helps regulate bone mass during their reproductive age. Once post-menopause stage enters in their life, the oestrogen levels start declining, leading to bone declination.
- Genetic factors: There are several individuals who are genetically prone to conditions promoting loss of bones like osteoporosis and osteopenia.
- Aging: Aging is one of the main causes of bone loss and is somewhat unavoidable.
- Lifestyle factors: A person's lifestyle can have a drastic effect on the way his/her bone health progresses. Various lifestyle factors that can cause bone health deterioration are extreme stress, too much smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol, improper diet, and lack of sedentary lifestyle and exercise.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Bone health?
- Get enough sunlight without sunscreen, especially in morning or afternoon. If you are worried about sunburns or tanning, enrich your food with natural anti-oxidants like blueberries, raspberries, goji berries and pomegranates.
- People 50+: Skin’s ability capacity to absorb Vitamin D reduces with age. Hence, there is more need of taking Vitamin D supplements.
- Manage your weight as obese people are more prone to getting vitamin D deficiency.
- Eat foods naturally rich in vitamin D.
- Exercise: People who don't exercise are likely to lose calcium from their bones, leading to bone health depletion. Exercising can help with stretching of muscles that will ultimately keep the bones flexible, upright, and maintain the storage of calcium in them. People should exercise with the increase in weight gradually to improve the structure of the bones. Some capable exercises are brisk walking, dancing, swimming, or aerobics.
- Understand the genetic factors and act accordingly: It is prudent to know the family history of the person to learn about bone loss conditions like osteoporosis in other family members (especially mother's side). Once the research is done, act accordingly by improving dietary habits and exercising on a regular basis.
- Get a DEXA scan: DEXA is the acronym for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, which is used for checking the bone mineral density in a person. This scan will help to measure the bone strength so that necessary steps to prevent further bone loss can be done.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Bone health?
- Don’t stay indoors for long periods.
- Do not go out in sun with screen applied as it blocks the absorption of vitamin D through the skin.
- Do not have any shield between you and sun rays (like a glass window) as it blocks the absorption of Vitamin D by the skin. Let sun ray fall directly on your skin.
- Do not use steroids for a prolonged period: There are a number of drugs, such as corticosteroids, that reduce the storage of calcium in the bones. Such steroidal drugs are meant for the treatment of various kinds of cancers in the body. While a patient may need to stick to a steroidal medication for a long period, this may result in the reduction of bone health with time. So, it is advisable to consult the healthcare specialist for periodic check-ups of the effect of such drugs on the bone density as well. If possible, such corticosteroids need to be avoided.
- Do not stress yourself: Stress is another reason for an indirect depletion of bone mass. With an increase in stress, the adrenal gland in the body fails to produce serotonin properly. This leads to the increase in cortisol in the body. High cortisol levels cause insomnia. But, in order to generate new bone tissues, sleep is necessary. With insomnia taking over the body, it will reduce a person's sleeping activity, hence leading to decrease in the rate of production of bone tissue.
- Do not keep body idle for too long: People who have bone health problems must not keep their body idle for too long. The body needs to keep moving from time to time so that the bone mass does not go waste.
What Are The Best Foods For Bone health?
For maintaining healthy and strong bones, it is recommended that the intake of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin D and calcium is promoted in the person with bone health loss. So, here is a list of important food items:
- Lean-protein diet: Protein helps with generating collagen fibres that help with maintaining the bone structure. Moreover, protein taken in adequate amounts by the body helps in strengthening the bone tissues. On the other hand, a high-protein diet, which is usually followed in weight loss programs, may lead to reduced bone density. In addition, a study stated that older adults with low protein have a higher risk of developing weak bones and that too, rapidly. A lean-protein diet comprises of food items like seeds and nuts, beans, fish, skinless poultry, chicken, etc.
- Fruits and Vegetables: While research on the evident benefits of fruits and vegetables in a person's diet suffering from bone health loss is still progressing, many experts say that it is helpful with the reduction of calcium loss in the bones. Another study suggests that it is due to flavonoids and phenols in the fruits and vegetables that help strengthen the bones. Furthermore, such healthy foods comprise of a rich quantity of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that are all stored inside bones for increasing their density. Fruits and vegetables that are good for bones are Chinese cabbage, collard greens, okra, broccoli, dandelion greens, turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, oranges, kiwi, prunes, rhubarb, prickly pears, dried apricots, etc.
- Eggs: Even though the composition of an egg is limited with only 6% vitamin D, it is a food item that is easily available. However, readers should note that the vitamin D is not in the egg white, but the egg yolk.
- Sardines: Sardines are often spotted as canned food items that unbelievably have high calcium and vitamin D levels. For people who do not mind eating fish, sardines turn out to be one of the most prominent sources of the key ingredients for maintaining bone health.
- Cheese: Calcium is a key ingredient found in cheese, but that does not make it eatable in excess. Maintaining a healthy cheese-eating habit comprises of about 1.5 ounces of its consumption on a daily basis. However, cheese is not able to fulfil the intake of vitamin D so the person with bone health loss may need some other source for the vitamin-part.
- Milk: Another rich source of calcium is milk that can cover up at least 30% of daily calcium intake. Moreover, there are many brands that offer milk rich in vitamin D as well. This makes it another healthy food item for bolstering those weak bones.
- Yogurt: A cup of yoghurt a day can help with maintaining a healthy diet comprising of essential minerals including calcium and vitamin D. Do note that for the ones who are considering opting for Greek yoghurt may not find it a rich source of calcium and vitamin D.
What Are The Worst Foods For Bone health?
The decrease in bone health may have multiple reasons behind it, but the primary reason for bone health degradation is the kind of food a person consumes. Hence, the worst foods that should be avoided are:
- Caffeine: With the consumption of coffee, magnesium and calcium are excreted in the urine at a much higher rate. Research says that consumption of two cups of coffee can lead to bone disintegration. Also, consumption of three coffee cups takes away around 45mg of calcium from the body. This risk keeps on worsening on more and more consumption of coffee, which ultimately leads to the fracturing of the hip bone.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is one of the worst food items that increase the risks of bone health degradation. Consumption of regular alcohol deteriorates overall health, including bones. This is because alcohol acts as an inhibitor of the absorption of essential minerals as it reduces the magnesium levels in the body. Excessive intake of alcohol too can lead to bone fracture with time.
- Salts: Too much salt consumption leads to removal of calcium through the urine in the body. Sodium that is present in foods at 20% or above is not suitable for the bones, so they ought to be avoided.
- Saturated fat foods: Saturated fat is not recommended to be a part of the diet of a person suffering from bone health depletion. Saturated fat will act as a counterproductive compound, leading to the thinning of the bones. This will eventually lead to bone fracture. Some well-known foods that contain saturated fats are tropical oils, cream, butter, lard, poultry skin, and red meat.
What Are The Medicines For Bone health?
What Are The Tips To Manage Bone health?
- Avoid substance use like smoking, alcohol.
- If you have a family history of osteoporosis, you need to take extra care of yourself at a younger age.
- Make exercise a habit.