World Osteoporosis Day! Why you should know the facts!
Many of us have heard of osteoporosis, but do you know what it actually is? Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle/fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, a deficiency of calcium or Vitamin D.
Building strong bones throughout your lifetime, is such a vital thing to do! However, many of us are unaware of the benefits of doing so, or the consequences of not looking after your skeleton. Having strong, healthy bones means you can continue to do the things you enjoy doing for longer, without the worry of pain, suffering and broken bones.
There are many ways to prevent – and control – osteoporosis. We’ve listed 5 key steps, which will set you off to a good start:
1) Exercise can have a huge impact in preventing osteoporosis:
- Weight-bearing exercises are extremely important. Exercise, such as jogging, hiking, brisk walking and climbing stairs, as well as muscle strengthening exercises, such as weight lifting, are beneficial at all ages and will help maintain strong bones and muscles. If you’re averse to fitness (we realise it’s not for everyone), why not find a friend or partner to keep you accountable. Working out together can be fun!
2) Make sure you’re eating the right nutrients for stronger bones:
- Calcium is key! Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, including fortified non-dairy milk, along with certain fruits and vegetables such as kale, broccoli and apricots and canned fish with bones like sardines.
- Vitamin D: most of the vitamin D in the body is produced from exposure of skin to sunlight; small amounts of vitamin D are found in foods such as egg yolk, salmon and tuna and foods fortified with vitamin D – essential for those who live in areas where there are low amounts of sunlight throughout the year (so us Brits then!).
- Protein – this doesn’t have to derive from meat. You can get adequate protein in beans, tofu, lentils, some fortified non-dairy milk, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.
3) Take care of your lifestyle and limit your bad habits!:
- Don’t smoke! We all know it’s bad for our health and can increase the risk of getting cancer, but did you know that smoking has been shown to raise fracture risk substantially?
- Reduce your alcohol intake; consuming more than 2 units of alcohol a day can raise the risk of fractures.
- Maintain a healthy weight; being underweight can increase your risk of fracture. The NHS recommends a BMI (Body Mass Index) of between 18-25 to be considered ‘Healthy’, although this can be slightly higher in certain cases (i.e. if you have lots of muscle). To calculate your BMI: divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in metres (m), then divide the answer by your height again to get your BMI.
4) Identify your risk factors:
- Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to ensure you’re aware of any risk factors that could make you susceptible to osteoporosis and fractures. Although women can be more prone to getting it, it doesn’t mean men can’t develop it either.
5) Sometimes Medicine may be a good option:
- Sometimes your doctor may suggest taking medication. There are many different types of prescribed medications that can help to improve your bone mass density; reducing your risk of fractures. The important thing to remember is to comply with your prescribed treatment. Continuing to take it can help protect your bones and help avoid damaging (and potentially life-threatening) fractures.
Please pass this article on to anyone you think may be interested in knowing more about osteoporosis.
If you’re worried about the strength of your bones, talk to one of our musculoskeletal experts today. Visit drcandicedugmorechiropractor.co.za or call us on 020 7531 4444 to find out what we can do for you to help prevent this disease.