Your bones become less dense and thinner as you age, making you more prone to injuries over time. Other than age, some of the things that are linked to bone loss include excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption, poor diet, and decreased oestrogen levels. Fortunately, there are ways to fight osteopenia or thinning bones, which in turn prevent you from getting osteoporosis. Start taking care of your bones now for stronger and healthier bones:
- Consider various medications If you’ve already been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, you can start considering taking medications that can further prevent spine and hip fractures. Get advice from bone doctors about the available options, such as denosumab, teriparatide, or bisphosphonate. That said, these medications wouldn’t work on their own if you haven’t consumed vitamin D and calcium on a regular basis.
- Get tested on the mineral density of your bones With DXA, a simple X-ray test, doctors are able to get overall views of the state of your bone health. This painless and quick test helps to determine risks of fracture and osteoporosis as well as measure the mineral density of your bones. Women are recommended by doctors to get tested within two years after their menopause. If you have certain diseases, or are on medications which could increase the risks of bone loss, you should get tested as soon as possible.
- Do regular weight-bearing exercises Exercises that compress the bones can help boost the strength of your bones. The best exercises to build strength for bones are basketball, tennis, dancing, repetitive stair climbing, high-impact aerobics, jogging, and running. However, if you have arthritis, osteoporosis or osteopenia, try walking instead. You can also use an elliptical or any other similar machines. Check with your doctor first before you work on your exercise routine.
- Add more vitamin D You need at least 1000-2000 international units (IU) of vitamin D on a daily basis in order to absorb more calcium. You can either get vitamin D the old-fashioned way by exposing yourself to the sun (make sure you’re not directly exposed to sun rays after 9am) or take a vitamin D supplement on a daily basis (or as frequent as prescribed by your doctor).
- Consume more calcium The easiest way to get stronger and healthier bones is for you to consume calcium-rich foods on a daily basis. They include dairy products, soy milk, fortified tofu, dried figs, almonds, whitebait, sardines, salmon, or any other fish with bones. Additionally, you may also take calcium supplements during your 20s to your 40s. It’s recommended that you consume calcium supplements of 1, 000 mg a day. As you age, your need will increase. To find the right amount for you, consult with your doctor before you start taking supplements. In most cases, your age and your health condition determines how much calcium supplement intake is needed. For example, if you’ve reached menopause, you’ll need 1000-1500 mg of calcium a day, unless you’re on a hormone therapy.
Don’t delay taking care of your bones. If you’re under the age of 40, you should probably make some changes to your lifestyle, such as limiting your alcohol intake, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and having nutritious diet. The sooner you start the better.