Osteoporosis – Week Beginning Monday 16th September 2019
- Osteoporosis is caused by a gradual loss of bone mineral – mainly calcium – making the bones fragile and porous.
- 1 in 3 women develop osteoporosis or “brittle bone” disease and its’ effects can be alarming and life threatening.
- 1 in 2 women (50%) over the age of 50 and 1 in 5 men (20%) over the age of 50 will break a bone mainly as a result of poor bone health.
- Some of you will also be aware of the condition known as osteopenia. This condition indicates a lower bone density than normal and is considered the pre-cursor to osteoporosis.
- The bones in our skeleton are made of a thick outer shell and a strong inner mesh filled with collagen (protein), calcium and other minerals.
- The inside looks like honeycomb and osteoporosis occurs when the holes between the bone become bigger, making the bone fragile and likely to break easily.
- It affects the whole skeleton but most commonly causes fracture in the wrist, spine and hip.
But what keeps bones strong?
- The biggest contributing factor to having strong bones is physical activity and exercise.
- The “pull” of the muscles across the bone when you are exercising increases its strength and stimulates increased bone formation, especially in young people.
- The bone-building cells (osteoblasts) are forced to be the most prominent and if they are challenged with high levels of exercise you can ensure a high bone mineral density (BMD) from an early age.
- Make sure your children are as active as possible – especially teenage girls.
So how do your bones change as you age?
- From middle age onwards the skeleton gradually loses bone mineral and women are most at risk due to lowering oestrogen levels.
- Men are better protected due the testosterone levels in their body but they can suffer from osteoporosis too.
- If you have a low BMD before the menopause, often due to a sedentary lifestyle, then the risk of osteoporotic fractures is high.
- The first sign may be a wrist fracture from a fall in middle age.
- More serious in older women is the risk of a hip fracture.
So what can you do to avoid osteoporosis?
- The best thing to do is to concentrate on your diet and exercise and it’s never too late to start.
- The best exercises are those that give the greatest “pull” across the bones.
- In the lower body that means some sort of jumping where the impact of the body weight dropping to the floor gives the greatest pull across the hips.
- When it comes to diet you need to eat plenty of calcium to really boost peak bone mass.
- You should get as much calcium in your diet in your teenage years and early 20s.
- Adults aged 19 – 50 need 1000mg of calcium per day. Adults aged 51+ need 1200mg calcium per day. Three-quarters of a pint of milk will provide you with enough calcium for the day.
- You also need to get Vitamin D into your diet as calcium and Vit D work together.
- Sun is the best way to get Vit D or eat fish with small bones like sardines.
- Good sources of calcium: yogurt, milk, cheese, salmon, rhubarb, spinach, tofu and sardines.
- Good sources of vit D: yogurt, mackerel, tuna and egg yolk.
You can find out more at https://www.nos.org.uk/