Osteoporosis: A Guide to Bone Health

As we grow old, our bones wear out. You may develop osteoporosis which is a bone condition where your bones and joins grow weaker and more fragile making it easier to break and fracture. This usually comes with old age developing slowly over the years so is there a way to prevent it?

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become weak and brittle so that even the smallest stress to the bone can cause it to break. Most common places where this happens is in the wrist, hip, or spine. It affects both men and women but affects older women in particular.

Although there are no specific symptoms of osteoporosis, there may be signs you can catch before it becomes dangerous. These signs include back pain, if a bone breaks more easily than it actually should, loss of height.

Some causes of osteoporosis in women are usually changes in hormones which is why women past the stage of menopause tend to develop this condition more than others. After menopause, the hormone, oestrogen, levels reduce.

Normally, oestrogen would increase bone formation so when these levels drop, bone formation reduces, and this is bad for the bones in the body. The cause of osteoporosis in men is still being studied however scientists suspect it might be due to the male hormone, testosterone which helps keep bones healthy like oestrogen in women.

Other causes such as low calcium intake, medication, surgery or even eating disorders can affect bone health and growth.

How do we prevent it?

To prevent or reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, it is important to have healthy dietary habits. Calcium is important for bone health as we are taught from a young age. Foods that include good calcium content are green leafy vegetables, dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, and soy products.

Foods including coconut yoghurt is great because coconut has many vitamins and minerals that assist with bone formation and protection. Milk also provides vitamin D which is equally as important as vitamin C. Other foods such as sardines, liver, egg yolks, red meat also contain vitamin D. If you are unable to get these vitamins naturally, supplements do exist which can be beneficial.

Exercise can also help prevent this condition. It may seem obvious, but exercise not only helps you strengthen your muscle but help rebuild your bones and make them stronger too. Exercises such as balance exercises or weight exercises can help strengthen bones in arms and spine and increase bone density.

Other life habits and lifestyles can also help protect your bones. Smoking is harmful to the body so quitting smoking will be a great benefit to the body. Limit your alcohol intake as this can also be dangerous for the body in large quantities as we know. Both smoking and alcohol can also affect bones.

Sometimes osteoporosis cannot be stopped because it happens naturally in the body with old age especially in women, but we can try to prolong it or prevent it if at all possible. This is only a basic guide to help you understand bone health a little bit better but for more information, visit a physician as they know best.