Osteoporosis is the thinning of the bone tissue and the loss of bone density over time. This disease affects 75 million people in Europe, US and Japan. 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will experience osteoporosis fracture. As it happens to both men and women, it is important that we take steps to prevent it.
How can you tell if you have osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a silent epidemic. It is undetectable in the early stage of the disease as gradual, painless lost of bone tissues occurs without any symptoms. Some signs of osteoporosis are stooped back (dowager hump) and loss in height.
The only way to diagnose is through a Bone Mineral Density Scan (BMD), which measures how much bone tissue you have. A low BMD reading indicates high risk.
How to prevent osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis starts around the age of thirty-five and accelerates during menopause. So, take the following steps to prevent it so that you can change the way you age.
1) Diet rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphate.
Calcium, phosphate and magnesium are the minerals that are essential for bone formation. As we age, calcium and phosphate are reabsorbed back into the body. This weakens the bone tissue, making it fragile and brittle and increase the risk of fracture even without injury.
How much calcium do we need?
- Age 9-18 years – 1300mg/day
- Age 19-50 years – 1000mg/day
- Older than 50 years – 1200mg/day
Natural foods that are high in calcium, magnesium and phosphates are
- Soya drink
- Leafy green vegetables – broccoli, kale, spinach
- Nuts and beans– Almond, cashew, baked beans, black beans, lentil
- Fish – sardine, whitebait, halibut
- Fruits – Fig, apricot
Vitamin D is important as it helps in the absorption of calcium and other minerals into the body. 5-20 min of unprotected sun exposure twice a week is sufficient to obtain the required dose of Vitamin D.
Exercise build bone mass and slow down bone loss. It helps to strengthen the muscle, which reduce the risk of falls. It also increases flexibility and improves movement coordination and balance.
There are 3 types of exercises:
- Weight bearing exercise – walking, jogging, climb stairs
- Resistance or weight training – good for muscle and build bone mass
- Balance exercise – yoga, tai-chi, dancing
Generally, 30-40 mins of exercise for at least 4 times a week is needed.
3) Stop Unhealthy Habits and reduce some drug intake
Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake. There are direct relationship between tobacco use and decrease in bone density. Alcohol interferes with bone growth and replacement of bone tissues.
Prolong use of certain medication such as treatment for asthma, Lupus, thyroid deficiencies, seizure can increase the risk of bone loss.
Try out these simple surefire ways today to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis in the future.
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