Follow These Tips For Optimal Bone Health In Older Adults
A healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent bone-related problems. Add enough foods rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D to your diet.
Regular exercise helps you keep bones healthy
Your bones undergo a constant self-regeneration process known as remodelling to remove old bones and replace them with new. There is a delicate balance that the body makes to maintain bone mass and strength which in turn prevents any kind of deformity. However, with age, this balance shifts in the negative direction, leading to loss of bone density and higher risk of conditions like osteoporosis. Bone-related condition, osteoporosis is commonly seen in menopausal women, or those with improper dietary habits, etc. It is important to take precautions to prevent loss of bone density in the elderly, especially in today's scenario when a visit to the hospital regularly may not be possible. Here are some tips to maintain optimum bone health in people above the age of 50 years.
The elderly need enhanced intake of calcium and vitamin D and other essential nutrients to maintain their bone health. Foods rich in calcium such as cereals, fruit juices, green vegetables, milk and fish, etc., are some of the ideal sources for these. Vegetarians can opt for supplements with Vitamin D. To supplement the desired quantity of vitamin B12, they can consume lean meat, fortified cereal, fish and seafood. Another important nutrient is vitamin K which activates a protein called osteocalcin. This protein is necessary for bone building and healing. However, it is important to consult a dietary expert or a registered medical practitioner before taking supplements.
Women in the menopausal stage as well as men above 50 years must get an osteoporosis screening done. Women must prioritize their health and not ignore symptoms like prolonged back pain, frequent falls and fractures. A bone density test can provide an accurate picture of bone-mineral density.
Quit smoking and limit drinking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of bone loss and fractures in women older than 40. This is because nicotine has a toxic effect on the bone-forming cells and reduces estrogen levels, which further lowers bone density. Limit alcohol intake as much as possible.
Undertake about 30 minutes of physical activity every day to strengthen the bones. Some exercises to try out would be yoga, tai-chi and brisk walking. Exercise will help in stimulating the bone cells to grow and build muscle. It will also improve balance and flexibility thereby reducing the likelihood of falls - one of the major causes of fractures in the elderly.
Regular medical check-ups can help in early detection. Teleconsultations also make it possible for specialists to offer psychological and nutritional counselling, to boost the morale and concerns of an aggrieved individual. Reduced bone density is a natural part of the ageing process. However, the condition can be prevented from leading to diseases like osteoporosis through a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
(Dr. Vishal Sehgal is President, Medical Services at Portea Medical)
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