Good Bone Health & Why It Matters
Good Bone Health & Why It Matters
Whether you are driving your car, playing a game of badminton, cooking food or simply reading this blog on your cellphone – you are always taking the support of one or many of the 206 bones in your body!
Bones provide you with the right kind of structural support, they help you move easily, protect you from shocks of the external environment, produce blood cells and regulate the endocrine (hormonal) system in your body.
However, in our busy day-to-day lives, bone health is a concern that is often missed out. Throughout our lives, our dynamic bones undergo several cycles of wear and tear. We need to take care of our bones correctly to ensure that they take care of us for a long time. Before we embark on this journey, we need to further understand the primary causes of poor bone health.
A diet that lacks adequate amount of Vitamin D and Calcium increases the risk of fractures and bone-related injuries due to bone loss and weak bones. This is caused over time. Absorption of these essential elements by our body can be negatively impacted as well when there is high consumption of caffeinated, carbonated or alcoholic drinks.
Another evil that prevents us from having healthy bones is – Smoking. It restricts the flow of blood to the bones, slows the production of bone-forming cells and impairs the quick absorption of calcium in the body. In fact, with time, bones of regular smokers tend to weaken causing smokers more likely to experience exercise-related injuries, fractures or sprains, and subsequently a longer healing time than non-smokers. Nicotine present in cigarettes counteracts the effects of medications, apart from causing bone loss. If one consumes both alcohol and cigarettes, it weakens bones eventually.
The good news, however, is that it is never too late for one to truly care for their bones. Getting the right amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D can go a long way in supporting our bone health. A diet rich in dairy, vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, turnips; oranges, egg yolks, salmon, tuna, yoghurt, etc. can help boost supply of these essential components to your body. Supplementing your diet with supplements of calcium carbonate and magnesium or multivitamins that contain Vitamin D, can also help support stronger bones.
Exercise is very important for bones to get stronger with time. Walking, jogging, bicycling and light aerobics help strengthen bones and build muscle mass as well. 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise can work really well for your body. Activities such as yoga can not only help lighten you up and keep you in shape, but it can aid in reducing falls and in improving balance as well. If you have a desk job, stand up and walk more frequently. Consulting your doctor on what is the best exercise for you could prove more fruitful in your goal towards ensuring healthier bones for yourself and your family.
Smoking and drinking alcohol is an absolute no-no if you seek to maintain good bone health. The risk of fractures too declines both in the present and in future, when one gives up smoking and alcohol consumption. Keep your bones healthy by stubbing these bad habits.
Regular testing of bone density through Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests can help your doctor understand the extent of bone loss in your body. Based on certain risk factors, presence of pre-existing conditions and genetic factors, the number of times one would need to undergo these tests will differ.
Your doctor is your best advisor when it comes to healthy and strong bones. Make your conversations on ‘healthy bones’ with your doctor more meaningful by discussing topics such as the best bone supplements to take, type of bone mineral density tests that need to be done, consuming a healthy diet, undergoing smoking and alcohol cessation programmes and exercises for healthy bones. Do not forget to discuss current medications you are taking whenever you are prescribed any for your bones with your doctor. This will help your healthcare specialist root out any adverse reactions, if at all, with other medicines that you are taking.
Bone health is important for us right from the womb to later in life. Due to symptoms of bone disease or degeneration appearing only much later in an individuals’ life, bone health tends to be brought to light only when it is too late. Let us promise our bones today a healthy nutrition and a good lifestyle.
For stronger and healthier bones reach out to
Dr. Mithun Shivgouda Patil (AJMC)