Aging is a natural phenomenon that occurs in all living creatures. The human body evolves from childhood toadulthood which is accompanied by biological, psychological, behavioraland other changes. Some of these changes are a life-long process, while others may need medical attention or they may have an adverse effect on the body. Onlymyhealth editorial team talked to Dr. Harshwardhan Hegde, Department of Orthopedics, CK Birla Hospital, Delhi, to know about bone loss increasing with age and ways to prevent this.
How does bone loss increase with age?
With the human body, the bones also ageand bone health deteriorates in composition, structure, and function.This condition is known as osteoporosis. The bone-related disease is caused due to lower BMD (bone mineral density) which makes them weak and more prone to fractures. As a result of this aging process, bones lose calcium and mineral contents, making osteoporosis a common problem among the older population and post-menopausal women.
The reduced bone density after the age of 50 can cause a fracture in any part of the skeleton. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 3 women & 1 out of 5 men above the age of 50 are likely to experience a fracture due to osteoporosis in a lifetime.The condition may be common in old age, but it can also occur in young and middle-aged adults.
Causes of bone loss with age
According to Dr. Harshwardhan, the common causes of bone loss with ageing are:
- Restricted joint motion and lesser flexibility in ligaments with age
- Reduce bone density & fluidity of the vertebrae
- Inactive lifestyle
- Loss of calcium, menopause in women, vitamin D deficiency, estrogen deficiency, bone marrow fat
- Excessive alcohol or smoking
Tips to reduce bone loss due to aging
Strengthening bones is importantand parents should focus on their kid’s bone health when building healthy habits and eating nutritious food in childhood. Here are five easy ways to improve your bone health at any age:
1. High protein diet
There are vital elements in food that increase bone health and should be consumed regularly. Eating enough protein improves calcium absorption and bone formation.A high-protein diet lowers the risk of fractures and preserves bone density during aging and weight loss. Eating a low-calorie diet affects metabolism, muscle mass, which can be harmful for bones. Eating at least 1200 calories per day is essential for both men & women to maintain strong bones and bodies.
2. Proper vitamin and minerals intake
Vitamin deficiency is common, and therefore, getting plenty of Vitamin D & K from various sources protects the bone against osteopenia, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases. Fulfilling the calcium requirement of the body is necessary for strong bones, but it is not the only requirement. Food sources enriched with magnesium and zinc also help make up the mineral requirements to strengthen bone health.
3. Maintaining a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight according to standard BMI (Body Mass Index) metrics is not only helpful in bone health but also lowers the chances of diseases like heart attack, obesity, stroke, and other serious problems. Low body weight during postmenopausein womenincreases the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Maintaining a stable weight supports bone health.
4. Follow an exercise routine
Engaging in physical activities according to your age and body condition helps you in staying active in life. Regular exercises are beneficial in maintaining a healthy weight, shaping muscles, strengthening bones, and boosting overall health. Activities like weight-bearing exercises, resistance exercises, walking, climbing stairs, hiking, playing tennis, etc. are highly impactful and help in building bone strength.
5. Cutdown on caffeine, alcohol and smoking
Caffeine consumption (more than 300 mg/d) in the form of tea, coffee, soft drink, chocolates, etc.decreases bone density and increases the chance of a hip fracture in elderly women. Similarly, smoking and drinking in any amount have an ill effect on bone health. While smoking limits blood supply and reduces the formation of bone cells, excessive consumption of alcohol interferes with bone formation and damages the body in other ways.