Bone Health Care Tips For Women Above 30

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OMH Exclusive: How Above 30 Women Must Take Care For Bone Health, Doctor Explains

As a person ages, his bone health deteriorates. Although it is common for both men and women, some bone health-related issues affect women more compared to men. Post the age of 30, they face various bone and joint-related issues. Osteoporosis is one such condition that affects a large number of menopausal and perimenopausal women. Osteoarthritis is another such disease that affects several women. As International Women’s Day is just around the corner (March 8), Onlymyhealth’s ‘Healthy Nari, Happy Nari’ campaign aims to address those health issues that are specific to women. As a part of it, we’ll speak to eight experts on topics affecting women’s health. Bone health is one such issue. Hence, as a part of this campaign, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Ankit Batra, Orthopaedic Surgeon, associated with Sharda Hospital, Greater Noida, to understand how women can take care of their bone health.

Need For Proper Bone Health Care For Women Aged 30 & Above

You might already know that calcium is essential for bone health. Women produce a hormone called estrogen, which plays a big role in female reproduction. Interestingly, it also plays a role in calcium absorption in the body, thereby directly impacting bone health. Young women have enough estrogen in their bodies. However, as they age, their level depletes and gradually the body stops making it as the woman goes through menopause. As a result, her bone health gets affected considerably.

Also read: How Does Bone Loss Increase With Age? Here Are 5 Experts Tips To Prevent It

What Factors Affect A Woman’s Bone Health?

As woman ages, her bone health deteriorates

Multiple factors affect bone health in women, explained Dr. Batra, such as:

  • Vitamin D Deficiency: A large number of women in India have vitamin D deficiency. One of the reasons behind it is the modern lifestyle that leaves us with little room to spend time out in the sun. As you know, the sun provides us with vitamin D, which in turn is important for bone health.
  • Nutrition: You get calcium from food. Milk is one of the primary sources. However, many switch to processed sources such as milk powder, which doesn’t provide them enough nutrition. Also, nowadays many suffer from lactose intolerance which makes it hard for them to digest milk and milk-based products.

According to Dr. Batra, lactose intolerants should switch to alternative calcium sources. They can take supplements. About 500 to 1,000 mg of calcium is recommended for a day. Many in India are also deficient in vitamin D. They can also take supplements, but only as per the doctor’s advice.

Also read: Bone Density Test For Osteoporosis: Know What It Is & When You Should Opt For It

Common Bone Diseases In Women

Among the many bone diseases, two are prominently seen in women.

Osteoporosis

As a woman ages, she becomes susceptible to osteoporosis. It is a condition in which the bone density and quality gradually worsen. According to Dr. Batra, about 70% of women suffer from it at some point in their lives. Here are the symptoms of osteoporosis:

  • Weakness
  • Muscle pain or myalgia
  • Unexplained joint and muscle pain

Repeated cough and cold. It might appear as an unusual symptom regarding bone health, however, there is a common component here, which is vitamin D. This nutrient that keeps your bone healthy also makes your immune system strong. Hence, deficiency of vitamin D can harm your bone health and make your immune system weak, making you susceptible to repeated cough, cold and other immune system-related diseases.

Osteoarthritis

Many women suffering from osteoarthritis suffer from knee and back pain. It is common among Indian women, said Dr. Batra. Just like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis is linked to a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D in their bodies. When you look at a joint through an X-ray, two bones appear with a gap in between. This gap is the cartilage, which cushions the joint. Here is what happens to the joint as osteoarthritis advances.

Stage 1: Slight reduction in the gap between the two bones.

Stage 2: This gap becomes significant.

Stage 3: The bones almost touch one another.

Stage 4: Complete bone to bone contact

According to Dr. Batra, any woman can suffer from these diseases. However, perimenopausal women (ages 40-55) are at a greater risk since their estrogen levels dip significantly due to age.

Role Of Gender In Determining Bone Health

Gender plays a significant role in determining bone health.

  • Estrogen: As you already know, estrogen plays a big role in determining bone health. Hence, as the level dips so does bone health.
  • Iron Deficiency: During their regular menstrual cycle, women lose a significant amount of blood, as well as iron. Hence, they also at times suffer from iron deficiency.
  • Lack Of Sun Exposure: Due to religious reasons or otherwise, many women cover their bodies completely. It strips them of sun exposure. Even if they go out in the sun, they might not get a significant amount of sunlight.
  • Nutrition: This is common for both men and women. A large portion of India’s population is vegetarian. It isn’t bad, however, it is unable to provide you with all the nutrients at times.

Exercises To Take Care Of Bone Health

Exercise is crucial to maintaining bone health. Dr. Batra recommends at least 40 minutes of brisk walking four times a week for every female. Your weight puts pressure on the knees. When you weigh more than needed, it puts excessive pressure on the knees. It can lead to joint bending, and cartilage damage. Hence, weight management is crucial for bone management.

Pregnancy Impact On Bone Health & Tips To Manage

Pregnancy can have a significant impact on the mother’s bone health. While pregnant, you are not just providing calcium to your body, but also your baby. After the source depletes, your body turns to your bones to secure calcium for your baby, which undoubtedly has a detrimental impact on your bone health. Even after birth, you provide calcium to your child through breastfeeding which can have an impact on your health. Here are some tips that can help you manage it:

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin through food or supplements. During pregnancy, a more amount of these nutrients are needed by the mother.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes in the sun. It is good for your immunity and that of your child.

Effect Of Sudden Weight Loss On Bone Health

Inspired by fad diets or social media influencers, many people undergo sudden weight loss. It might help you to get thin but is detrimental to your health, including your bones. When you do not lose weight healthily and don’t allow your body to adapt, it reacts in other ways such as the appearance of stretch marks, skin sagging, and impact on organs.

Sedentary Lifestyle Leads To Aches & Pains: What Should Be Done?

“The smartphone generation looks down instead of forward,” quipped Dr. Batra. Also, while working on a laptop, one suffers from several aches and pains that start from the neck and can spread to the fingers. Here are some tips that can help:

  • While working on a laptop, keep it on your eye level to not put pressure on the neck.
  • Opt for cervical support if you already have pain.
  • Modify your chair to suit your body and not the other way around.
  • Take regular breaks.

Knee Replacement Surgery: Pros & Cons

Although many people undergo knee replacement or realignment surgeries, Dr. Batra says it should be the last resort due to the myriad cons attached, such as:

  • It might not provide you with the perfect alignment as your natural knee.
  • You will be unable to do certain activities.
  • Every implant has a shelf life. The best one might last for 20 years. Post that, corrective surgery might be needed, which is another hassle.

Knee replacement isn’t recommended for young patients unless there is no other option, said Dr. Batra.

So, as you saw, women must take special care of their bones. They can do that by taking enough calcium and vitamin D, which can be taken through food or supplements. Exercise is also crucial. You can pick walking. Also, undergo regular calcium and vitamin D checks to be aware of the status of your bone health.

(With inputs from Dr. Ankit Batra, Orthopaedic Surgeon, associated with Sharda Hospital, Greater Noida)

Photo Credit: Henryford.com



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