Your bones play a vital role in your overall health and well-being. They support your muscles and organs, protect your internal organs from injury, and produce red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body. Strong bones are essential for good health, so it’s vital to take steps to keep them healthy as you age.
Ways to keep your bones healthy
There are several things you can do to keep your bones healthy and strong:
Get enough calcium
Calcium is essential for bone health. Adults need about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and certain types of fish.
Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Adults need about 600 IU of vitamin D per day. You can get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, certain foods, and supplements.
Weight-bearing exercise helps keep bones strong. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week.
Smoking is harmful to bone health in multiple ways. It increases the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that leads to fragile bones. Smoking also impairs the body’s ability to absorb calcium and other minerals essential for bone health. In addition, smoking decreases vitamin D levels in the body, which further contributes to bone loss. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your bone health.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to various bone health problems, including osteoporosis, fractures, and joint pain. Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and other minerals essential for bone health. It also increases the risk of falls and accidents, leading to fractures. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being obese or overweight increases the risk of osteoarthritis, which causes pain and stiffness in the joints. It can also lead to other bone and joint problems. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for good bone health.
Common bone health problems
Several common bone health problems can occur as we age:
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become thin and weak. It’s often caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D.
According to the National Institutes of Health, osteoporosis affects an estimated 10 million Americans. It’s prevalent in women over the age of 50.
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves to the side. It can occur at any age but is most common in adolescence.
There is no cure for scoliosis, but you may opt to have private treatment for scoliosis to help manage the condition. This treatment may include:
- Physical therapy
- Orthotic devices
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage between joints breaks down. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling.
The exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, but it’s thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including:
- Joint injury
- Repetitive stress on joints
- Previous arthritis
Fractures are a common bone health problem, especially among older adults. They can occur as a result of falls or other accidents.
Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bone. It can be challenging to treat and is often fatal.
Bone cancer signs and symptoms depend on the location of the tumor. They may include:
- Pain in the affected bone
- Swelling or tenderness in the area
- A feeling of fullness or heaviness in the affected limb
- Weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
If you have these symptoms, it’s essential to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
Paget’s disease is a condition that causes bones to become weak and deformed. It’s often caused by a deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. The symptoms of Paget’s disease include:
- Bone pain
- Joint pain
- Deformity of the affected bone
Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi can cause it. The symptoms of osteomyelitis include:
- Bone pain
- Weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for osteomyelitis often includes antibiotics and surgery.
As you can see, there are some common bone health problems that can occur as we age. That is why it’s so important to keep your bones healthy and strong. By getting enough calcium and vitamin D, exercising regularly, and not smoking, you can help reduce your risk of developing these problems. If you experience any symptoms, it’s essential to see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.