Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs due to decrease bone density, affecting the strength of bone. Osteoporosis is a silent disease as it slowly progresses and doesn’t cause signs and symptoms until it reaches later stages. Osteoporosis leads to the weakening of the bones and makes them prone to breakage. In most cases, people do not realize they have osteoporosis until they suffer from a fracture.
People lose bone cells as they age, but some lose bone cells more rapidly than others. Osteoporosis occurs when the bone formation rate doesn’t match the bone loss rate. Anyone can get osteoporosis at any age, but women reaching menopause are more susceptible to developing osteoporosis. Fracture is a severe complication of osteoporosis, especially in elders. In osteoporosis, hips, spines, and wrists are more vulnerable to bone breakage, but other bones can also break. Sometimes, a simple sneeze or violent cough can cause a broken rib.
It’s never too late to take action for your bone health today. You can reduce your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones in later life with proper nutrition and regular exercise. Let’s know how we can prevent osteoporosis.
Prevention of osteoporosis
Both men and women must take steps from an early age to prevent osteoporosis. With the following simple lifestyle modifications from an early age, you can influence your overall health as well as bone health:
- Consuming healthy diet
A balanced diet is crucial for our overall health. It can prevent various health issues, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, numerous cancers, and osteoporosis. Antioxidants, calcium, and vitamin D-rich food are crucial to maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis development in later life.
According to health experts, a well-built adult needs approximately 1000-1200mg per day of calcium to maintain bone health. Therefore, include food rich in calcium in your daily diet, such as:
- Leafy green vegetables, including spinach, mustard greens, amaranth, beet greens, and beans
- Milk and milk products, such as yogurt and cheese
- Ragi food products
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits, such as fresh or dried figs and papaya
- Beans and lentils
In addition to calcium, vitamin D is also crucial for healthy bones. According to nutritionists, an adult needs 10micrograms per day of vitamin D for better bone and teeth health. The following are the dietary source of vitamin D:
- The best vitamin D source is fatty fish (salmons, whitefish, mackerel, tuna, and trout) and fish liver oils
- Beef liver and red meat
- Soy milk
- Fresh vegetables and fruits. They include sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash, carrots, pumpkin, papaya, melon, apricot, and peaches.
- Vitamin D-fortified food, such as yogurt, cereal, milk, oatmeal, cheese, fat spreads, and orange juice
- Enough sun exposure
When sun rays hit our skin, cholesterol present in our skin absorbs UVB from sun rays and triggers vitamin D production. Vitamin D is crucial for our bone and teeth health and prevents osteoporosis. An appropriate time to get sunlight is midday since the sun is at its highest point at noon, and the UVB rays are the most intense. Therefore, you require less exposure to make enough vitamin D. Many researchers stated that during summer, 10-15 minutes of midday sunlight exposure three times per week is enough to make healthy vitamin D levels.
- Vitamin D supplements
Sometimes, you are unable to obtain enough vitamin D from your diet. Therefore, after consulting with healthcare experts, you can take 10mg of vitamin D supplement per day.
- Regular exercises
Physically inactive people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than active ones. Therefore, indulge yourself in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week for healthy bones and overall well-being. You can include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or aerobics in your workout regimen.
You can also include muscle-strengthening and weight-bearing exercises to improve bone density and help prevent osteoporosis.
- Maintain healthy weight
Obese people are more prone to chronic diseases and osteoporosis. Therefore, you should maintain your overall weight, as excess weight may put extra pressure on weight-bearing joints and promote bone loss and osteoporosis.
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption increase the risk of osteoporosis in people. Therefore, quit smoking and other illicit substance usage as soon as possible. Limit intake of alcohol to 2 drinks a day for the betterment of overall health.
- Limit caffeine intake
Excess caffeinated drinks can reduce bone mass and increase the risk of fracture. According to health experts, 200-400mg of caffeine intake is usually safe for a healthy adult.
Taking steps to protect your bone health is easier than you think. With these simple steps, you can take steps to develop strong, healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis in later life.
Dr. V. A. Senthil Kumar | HOD & Senior Consultant – Orthopaedics, Spine Surgery and Arthroscopy | Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi