JANUARY FOCUS – OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis refers to a reduction in bone density. Bone density does tend to reduce as we age, and it is often exaggerated in post-menopausal women. However, it is not just a disease of women. A recent statistic given by The National Osteoporosis Society I found quite alarming. They estimate that 20% of men, and 50% of women over the age of 50. Will suffer some sort of bone fracture as a result of poor bone health. So it is important for us all to do our best to maintain a strong and healthy skeleton.

Points we should try and consider for good bone health:

Be active. Our skeleton grows stronger for regular weight-bearing exercise. Examples of this are brisk walking,  jogging, tennis, dancing, and skipping. Lifting weights is also helpful, the muscle tendons pulling on the bones in this activity, will have a bone strengthening effect.

If you have osteoporosis, you need to be careful not to exercise too vigorously. More gentle options are swimming, golf, tai-chi and walking.

Diet is important too. You should try and make sure you enjoy a varied and balanced diet. Selecting foods from all the food groups. Everyone should try and aim for 9 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. If there is a food group you avoid, or may be you have an increased need for a particular vitamin or mineral. Then you may wish to consider supplementation. As we get older we don’t always absorb our food as efficiently, and sometimes have smaller appetites. So this may be appropriate in this instance.

For bone health Calcium and Vitamin D are particularly important. Calcium can be found in dairy products, tofu, green leafy vegetables –
curly kale, okra and watercress are examples. Also red kidney beans,

soya beans, petit pois, cabbage, broccoli, celery and parsnips. Adults
need 700mg of calcium a day.

Vitamin D is important to help the body absorb calcium effectively.
Vitamin D can be found in fish (like salmon, tuna and mackerel). There is also smaller amounts available in eggs, yogurt, milk and cheese. These foods contain vitamin D3, this form of vitamin D is easier for our bodies to utilise. However for vegans and vegetarians there are fewer natural sources. They contain vitamin D2, some mushrooms contain vitamin D2.                                                               Images Supplied By Google

If supplementing vitamin D, vegans and vegetarians should be aware that vitamin D3 is made using lanolin. Whereas vitamin D2, is manufactured from yeast. For those aged over 65, you need to be having 10mcg of vitamin D a day. In younger adults, it’s 5mcg a day. In sunnier times of year, this may not be necessary if you’re getting outside and exposing your skin to sunlight. As our body’s can synthesise vitamin D via a reaction in our skin from sunlight.

There are many reasons to quit smoking, but it has a detrimental effect on bone construction. So bone health is another reason to give up.

Alcohol too in excess may have ill-effect on bone health. Also, you may feel unsteady with excesses of alcohol. Increasing your chances of falling, and possibly a fracture. The recommended alcohol limit  a day is 2 to 3 units for women, and 3 to 4 for men.

You may have seen December’s posting? It spoke a little about balance. If you do have osteoporosis, or feel vulnerable in this way. thinking about fall prevention is a good idea. Look for potential hazards in your home, for example, loose rugs, slippery surfaces, possibly poor heating or lighting. If you take a lot of medication? Side-effects may be drowsiness or dizziness. Make sure your medications are regularly reviewed by your doctor. Take your time when moving around. Using handrails on stairs, and may be have additional rails fitted if necessary, for example, in the bathroom.

Refer back to December’s post for more ideas on improving balance.