It is one thing to be young and break an arm or a leg but when you get older, you are not just looking at the pain and inconvenience of a broken bone. For older people, this can become a life-changing event. For some, it can become a life-ending catastrophe. Osteoporosis is a bone disease responsible for many of the broken bones older people experience. It is a silent disease with few very noticeable symptoms.
Losing Bone Density with Age
With age comes wisdom and many other things, including the loss of bone mass. Your bones are at their best during your 20s and 30s. By the time you are into your 40s, your bone mass has begun to decrease. It is a little worse for women because reduced estrogen levels accelerate the process. More women than men can expect to break a bone due to osteoporosis.
The dowager’s hump is an example of how osteoporosis can affect females. This outward curvature that occurs on a woman’s upper back results in a humplike appearance. The thoracic vertebrae of the upper back are involved. When the vertebra become weakened due to osteoporosis, compression fractures can cause them to collapse. Several collapsed vertebrae can result in the loss of height and a hump in the upper back.
Men do not lose bone mass as fast as women. They also have the added advantage of having more bone mass to begin with. With that being said, should a man develop osteoporosis, he will be more likely to have a bone fracture. All men over the age of 75 should have a bone density screening.
Two Essential Ingredients for Bone Health
Hopefully you managed to consume plenty of calcium and get lots of sunshine in your early years. Calcium and Vitamin D, provided by the sun, are both necessary for good bone health. These two ingredients continue to be necessary throughout life. Vitamin D is necessary to help the body absorb calcium. You should be able to get the necessary amount of calcium from the foods and beverages you consume. Since the body can only absorb about 500 mgs of calcium at one time, if you take supplements, it would be better to take smaller doses throughout the day.
Exercise for Bone Strength
Weight bearing exercises will also help keep your bones strong and healthy. These types of exercises are also good for helping you improve your balance and posture as you age. Falls are a major issue with older people and exercises that help you stay balanced are important.
Being aware of your bone health is something that should begin well before you reach old age. Eat healthy, calcium-rich foods, get enough sunlight and remember to jump for joy often. These things will keep your bones healthy.
Call on Hanowell Spine Clinic when you have concerns about osteoporosis, sciatica and other problems with the spine. Dr. Michael Dalton Hanowell and his team develop personalized treatments plan to improve health and well-being.