Tips to Maintain Healthy Bones
The need to keep our body’s support structure strong and healthy is very important. Healthy and strong bones are critical to our well-being. So, the right measures must be taken to keep them in their best form throughout our life. We caught up with Dr Vijay Kumar Sohanlal to get his advice and tips to maintain healthy bones. Dr Vijay is a much sought-after expert in the field of orthopaedics. He’s a senior specialist in joint replacement and orthopaedics at MGM healthcare and Mahi Clinic.
Dr Vijay explains that while there are many factors, the diet and lifestyle that we follow in the first 30 years of our life determine the health of our bones to a large extent. This is also the age when most of us reach our peak bone mass. Dr Kumar says that bones are living tissues that undergo changes continuously and new bones are formed as we grow. This process, called osteogenesis, slows down as we age, and the bone mass loss is little more than the gain.
Risk Factors Affecting Bone Health
Some of the risk factors can’t be controlled but the good news is that most of them are within your control.
· Physical Inactivity: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, there is a higher risk of bone health deterioration. Lack of physical activity leads to weak bones and muscles. There is a higher threat of osteoporosis compared to those who exercise regularly.
· Diet: If your diet lacks an adequate level of calcium and vitamin D, the bone density may not reach its optimum level. Vitamin D helps the body in calcium absorption; therefore, lesser vitamin D denies bones access to sufficient calcium.
· Gender: Women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis as compared to men. This is so because hormonal changes cause faster bone loss in women.
· Body Mass: If you are slender with a small body frame, you have lesser bone mass to lose. That means the bones will become fragile faster due to bone loss.
· Age: Your bones get relatively weaker with age. Bone loss causes thinning of bones making them fragile.
· Ethnicity and Genetics: As an Asian woman, you are more likely to get osteoporosis compared to African and Hispanic women. If your close family member had osteoporosis, there is a higher likelihood that you may also have it.
· Alcohol Consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption reduces bone density and causes weakness of bones. It may also decrease bone formation.
· Some Medicines: Prolonged use or higher doses of certain medicines weaken the bones.
Tips to Maintain Healthy Bones
Dr Vijay confirms that some simple changes in your lifestyle and diet can help you keep your bones healthy.
· Calcium: Indians need about 600mg of calcium daily, as per The Indian Council of Medical Research. Consume food that is rich in calcium especially, green leafy veggies. The mineral density of your bone also increases with their increased consumption.
· Vitamin D: We should aim at a vitamin D level of 30ng/ml. Daily exposure to sunlight for a short duration will get you enough vitamin D. Egg yolk, oily fish like salmon and mackerel are also good sources of vitamin D.
· Protein and Fatty acids: Maintain a good diet that includes protein and fatty acids.
· Exercise: Dr Vijay says that the importance of exercise in your daily life can’t be overemphasized. You can engage in weight training, yoga, or any other form of regular physical exercise.
· Reduce alcohol and smoking: If you have a high consumption of alcohol and smoke regularly, cutting back on them would be good for your bones.
Dr Vijay Kumar stresses the importance of taking care of your bone health throughout life. If you need more information about your bone health, it would be best to consult an orthopaedic expert at the earliest.