Do you have memories of your parents telling you to drink your milk for strong bones? Turns out there’s something to that. While there are some aspects you can’t control, such as age, gender, and family history, you can definitely take proactive measures, especially in adolescent to young adult years, to build strong bones.
What is osteoporosis?
Bones are constantly rebuilding themselves. However, as we age, this happens at a much slower rate. Osteoporosis is a disease where the density and quality of your bones decreases to the point where they become fragile and easily breakable.
One of the main roles of your bones is to provide structural support for your body. Thus, when your bone density decreases, you have an increased risk for fractures. The most common fractures occur at the hip, spine and wrist.
Who is at risk?
In the United States about 10 million people have osteoporosis and 34 million have osteopenia, a disease where bones are weakened but not to the degree of those who have osteoporosis.
While men get this disease, females are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis. One out of three females over the age of 50 will experience fractures due to osteoporosis.
Lifestyle changes that can lower your risk
For both men and women, bone density peaks at about 28 years of age. From then on, your bones will always be losing density.
However, there are a few things you can do to slow down that rate. Jake Budny, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon, shares some tips:
- Tune into nutrition - Having a balanced, nutritious diet is an important aspect of controlling your body mass index (BMI). Having a lower or higher BMI than normal can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, having an adequate supply of necessary vitamins, especially calcium and vitamin D, is important for healthy bones.
- Quit smoking – Tobacco use and decreased bone density are linked.
- Avoid heavy drinking – Reducing the absorption of calcium and vitamin D are just a few ways excessive alcohol can interfere with your body.
- Get moving – A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk for osteoporosis as well. Weightlifting is a great activity for bone health. The stressing of bone and muscle that occurs during strength exercise has been shown to positively increase bone density.
Overall, Dr. Budny believes that lifestyle choices can have an incredible impact on your general health.
“No system, bones, eyes, or otherwise, ever works independently from the rest of the body,” says Dr. Budny. “A good lifestyle choice typically affects all aspects of your body, both mental and physical.”
Leading a healthy lifestyle by focusing on things like being active, dieting, and mental health has so many positive effects. Taking a rational and safe approach to taking care of yourself can help prevent catastrophic health issues is the future.
Want to learn more about living a healthier lifestyle? Check out these healthy eating tips.