Bones provide shape to our bodies and protect our organs from injury. Bones support us and allow us to move. In our body joints are the areas where the bone comes together but do not make contact directly. Bones are cushioned by cartilage in the joint, membranes around the joints, and fluid. Muscles can work to move our bodies because they are attached at their ends to bones.
Why bone protection is important?
With the age bone density is lost especially in women after menopause. Building and breaking down of bone tissues is a continuous process. With the age balance between building and breaking of tissues is changed and then bone density goes down. Most people have a maximum bone density at the age of 30 and thereafter lose slightly more bone mass than they gain. With the age, bones lose calcium, fluids from the disks, and other minerals that make bones thinner. Due to loss of bone density spinal vertebrae can be compressed and the middle of the body (trunk) becomes shorter and joints may also become stiffer and less flexible. Another reason for the damaging of bones is osteoporosis. In osteoporosis disease bone density decreases significantly which makes them brittle and breakable. It makes the bones porous and increases the risk of fractures.
Treatment and protection of decreasing bone density
1. Physical activity:
Physical activities, exercises help to slow or prevent bone and muscle loss and make the bones become denser by putting pressure on them. It also helps to maintain strength, good health, and prevent diseases.
2. Stick with the bone-friendly diet:
To maintain healthy bone density, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. You should also increase your omega-3 intake. These fatty acids can be found in flax seeds of fish: Salmon, cod, and halibut and are essential to keep your bones strong.
3. Increase calcium intake:
To main proper bone density, you should increase calcium intake. Green leaves, soy, sardines, broccoli, and nuts are a good source of calcium. In women after menopause estrogen level drops resulting in an acceleration in the rate of bone density loss. This is the time when it is very important to increase the intake of calcium.
4. Eat nut and almonds:
These contain magnesium which is essential to the process of absorbing calcium.
5. Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake:
Coffee and alcohol release calcium from the bones and damage the hormonal balance in the body which is important to keep the bones strong.
6. Stop smoking:
Smoking cigarettes also damage bone density so you should stop smoking.
7. Pay attention to your periods:
An infrequent period is associated with a low estrogen level. Estrogen helps in slowing down the rate of bone density loss. Women in 40s enter perimenopause when periods become irregular and during this period you should protect your bones by doing strength- training exercises and taking a calcium supplement.
8. Fifteen minutes of sun exposure in a day:
Exposing your body to the sun for a few minutes particularly in the morning is the best way to get natural vitamin D which will help to keep the bone density up.
9. Protect bones during pregnancy:
During pregnancy growing baby takes the calcium it needs from your bones as such you need to take a sufficient quantity of calcium. It will also help your body to absorb more minerals required for bone strength. Afterward, breastfeeding may also adversely affect your bone density but you can regain it later by increasing the intake calcium and vitamin D.
10. Effect of medication on bones:
There are certain medications taken for treating acid flux, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis that may harm your bones by interfering with the absorption of calcium. If you are taking such medicine, you must consult your doctor so that he/she may prescribe such medicines that counteract the bone density loss.
11. Eat sunflower seeds:
Sunflower seeds contain zinc which is a key mineral for maintaining strong bones.
12. Reduce red meat:
Eating red meat reduces the absorption of calcium in the body so you should avoid it.
13. Bone density test:
After the age of 40, you should get your bone density test every 3-4 years and in case of deficiency, you can take remedial measures in consultation with your family medical practitioner.
14. Effect of contraceptives:
You should consult your doctor before taking contraceptives as an injectable contraceptive, if taken once in a month for more than two years, may suppress estrogen production and may cause bone loss in young women whereas estrogen in oral contraceptives may increase bone mass.