Osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes the bones to become thin and brittle. We lose bone mass as we age, but having osteoporosis is not a normal part of aging. A victim will not feel symptoms in most conditions until a bone is broken. A broken bone in the spine is the most common manifestation of osteoporosis.
On the other hand, a hip fracture can be the most serious and risky. It could lead to being disabled and you may need surgery. However, many patients would require skilled nursing care in a long-term care facility after surgery.
Understanding bone health
Bones are the structure of the human body, they protect our organs, provide an environment to create bone marrow and store minerals.
Given these crucial functions, maintaining the health of our bones is paramount. Several factors directly affect bone health. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or broken bones, it’s critical to get tested, as genetics may play a role in your osteoporosis risk.
Age also significantly affects bone health. As we age, our body’s ability to absorb calcium decreases, which can contribute to bone loss. Additionally, hormonal changes that occur with age can reduce the production of testosterone and estrogen, which play a crucial role in maintaining bone density.
Health Insurance for Bone Health
We have several resources to consider if we want to ensure that we are taking the necessary steps to preserve our bone health.
Comprehensive health insurance is one of these options. By getting a quote from Assurance IQ, for example, you can identify coverage options for bone-related conditions, such as osteoporosis. It provides a way to explore potential avenues for support.
However, it is equally important to compare multiple insurance options and consult with a health professional. This ensures that the chosen insurance plan best meets your specific needs.
Nutrition for strong bones
A well-rounded diet can help maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is beneficial, but certain minerals and nutrients are especially important.
- Calcium: Dairy products provide a rich source of calcium, but you can also find it in nuts, seeds, beans, and soybeans. If you have difficulty getting enough of these foods into your diet, low-dose calcium supplements may be considered under medical advice.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium and regulate the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Vitamin D can be synthesized through exposure to sunlight, but excessive exposure could lead to skin cancer. Vitamin D supplements can be a good alternative, since only a few foods contain vitamin D naturally.
- Protein: Adequate protein intake is essential for maintaining bone health, contributing to both flexibility and strength of the bones. You can find protein in dairy, meats like beef, poultry, and pork, and alternatives like tofu, beans, lentils, and peanuts.
Exercise for stronger bones
Regular physical activity can significantly benefit bone health. Weight-lifting and strength-training exercises improve bone density and help prevent osteoporosis.
Examples of weight-bearing exercises include dancing, walking, ellipticals, stair climbing, and low-impact aerobics.
Strength training exercises, such as the use of free weights, can also contribute to bone health and help maintain good posture by strengthening the muscles of the spine.
Lifestyle Choices and Bone Health
A few lifestyle changes can make a difference in bone health. Several lifestyle factors, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Cigarette smoke produces large amounts of free radicals that attack the body’s natural defenses, increasing the breakdown of estrogen and potentially contributing to bone loss.
Excessive alcohol consumption can upset the body’s calcium balance and prevent the production of vitamin D, essential for calcium absorption, leading to bone loss.
Additionally, leading a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to accelerated bone loss. Regular physical activities, such as jogging, bicycling, and weight lifting, have been shown to improve overall bone health by promoting bone mass and density.
Understanding osteoporosis and the factors that contribute to its development can help you avoid such medical conditions. While it’s true that osteoporosis is common among older adults, it’s a good idea to start taking care of your bone health while you’re young.
By following the tips we’ve covered here, we hope you can begin to make some lifestyle adjustments and make a difference, leading to sustainable bone health.