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Here are some stats about osteoporosis (or the ‘porous bone’ disease):
It affects more than 200 million people around the world
One out of three women and one out of five men above 50 years of age are affected
30% of women and men suffer from osteoporotic hip fractures in the US and Europe
People who have had at least one osteoporotic hip fracture are nine times more likely to get another fracture
People with a low Body Mass Index (BMI<25) are at a higher risk
Diabetic patients are at a higher risk of osteoporosis
(Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information)
This blog offers information on this serious health condition and how you can keep it away from causing you more harm. We shall start with what it is and how you can identify its symptoms. Our healthcare experts shall also suggest what changes you should make in your lifestyle for the best results.
Your body breaks down parts of old bones and builds newer ones in their place regularly. But after 30 to 35 years of age, the bones start to lose their quality and strength at a much faster rate than your body can replace naturally. This leads to brittle and fragile bone structures, a serious health issue called osteoporosis.
It is also caused due to nervous system disorders and a lack of calcium in the bones. Failure to work on your physical strength can also court osteoporosis. With lesser nutrient intake over time, you could well end up fractures and sprains and broken ligaments more than you’d probably expect.
You can check yourself against the following symptoms to know if you are suffering from osteoporosis. Please note that these symptoms may vary on a person-to-person basis, and the severity of the disease may also be different for everyone.
Severe pain in hip, spine (back), or wrist
Change in posture
Reduced bone density
Inability to take deep breaths
Pain in standing up and working out
The following may relate to the onset of osteoporosis in a human body:
Sedentary lifestyle, lack of fitness
Lack of nutrients (especially calcium)
Digestive and nervous system disorders
Issues with adrenal glands
The issue of weaker and brittle bones becomes worse with age and weight gain. Your bones would have lost their best form with age and they’ll not be as healthy as they once used to be, mostly due to indulgent lifestyle practices and compulsive eating habits.
And you can’t reverse the damage just by popping some calcium or iron pills alone. There is no permanent cure for this disease but you can slow down its adverse effects by adopting a healthier and fitness-centric lifestyle.
Tip: Eating healthier foods, maintaining proper fitness, and doing yoga help a great deal.
Most people are aware of the importance of having enough calcium in their diet to ensure that bone density does not decrease. However, it isn’t the only important factor.
Being physically active is also super important for maintaining the strength of bones and skeletal structures. This is because increased physical activity can hasten the process of building bones through the phases of mineral acquisition and bone consolidation.
When it comes to being active, weight-bearing exercises are particularly important. Such exercises comprise the activities that you do while on your feet and legs, thus making your muscles and bones work against gravity.
During weight-bearing exercise, our bones adapt to the impact of weight and muscular pull by building more cells. Consequently, they become stronger and denser, and the risk of fracture, osteopenia, and osteoporosis reduces significantly.
Some of the most popular high-impact weight-bearing exercises to prevent osteoporosis are:
Playing sports like soccer, baseball, tennis, and basketball
Here are some low-impact weight-bearing exercises to back the above exercises up:
Training on elliptical training machines
Doing low-impact aerobics
Using stair-step machines
Fast walking on a treadmill or outside
It is therefore recommended that you include one of these forms of activity into your daily routine for around 30 minutes every day. They are also known as resistance exercises and they include:
Using elastic exercise bands
Using weight machines
Lifting your body weight
Yoga and Pilates can also improve strength, balance, and flexibility. You may mix up your daily routine to include a mix of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
Caution: You should not do any of the above-mentioned exercises without consulting a healthcare specialist if you are suffering from the disease. Doing these exercises obsessively could do more harm than good, and the damage may be irreversible.
It is important to understand that calcium forms the basis of stronger bones and a robust physical structure. As a disease, osteoporosis makes our bones brittle and prone to fractures, two facts that make it an anti-thesis to a natural physical structure.
Here is how you can prevent osteoporosis naturally:
Drink milk, it is rich in calcium
Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, juices, and whole grains
Rely on good quality dairy products like milk and yogurt
Sit in the sunshine to absorb vitamin D
Stay away from alcohol and smoking
Drink coffee in moderation
Detox your body every weekend
Do weight-bearing exercises
Here are some precautions that you should observe in the wake of this disease:
Do not eat high-salt foods
Do not take an excess of vitamin A or wheat bran
Stay away from fast foods and sugary drinks like pizzas and cola drinks
Stay away from soda, alcohol, and binge drinking
Do not eat red meat
Do not use cod liver oil
We also recommend you consult a virtual health and wellness expert to know of a personalized plan. If you can’t go to a gym or fitness studio, you can start with some no-equipment home-based exercises under a qualified virtual fitness trainer. He would guide you better to work for your fitness at a much faster and better pace.
With time and patience, you can wade yourself out of bone-related disorders caused by osteoporosis. However, the more important thing is to stay consistent with your exercises and to eat healthily. It would take you some time to make these changes but they would all be worth it. Your bones and ligaments too would thank you someday for it!