Protecting your bones is part of a healthy aging strategy. Talk to your doctor about assessing your risk of fractures and devise a strategy to lower the risk, especially if you’ve had a fracture after age 50, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. A comprehensive approach includes optimizing nutrition, reviewing exercise, safe moving practices, and fall prevention, and taking prescription medications if appropriate.
Lifestyle choices for strong bones
A key factor to maintaining the bone density you have is to make healthy choices to support bone health. These steps are important in both preventing osteoporosis and slowing its progression. They include:
■ Exercise — Weight bearing physical activity such as walking and moderate aerobic exercises can strengthen bones and reduce risk of fracture. Muscle strengthening exercises can help as well. Aim to exercise at least 30 min utes most days of the week. Ask your doctor whether any precautions are recommended, especially if you’re at increased risk of fracture.
■ Eat well — Eat a balanced diet and make certain that you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D from the food you eat.
■ Don’t smoke — Smoking speeds up bone loss.
■ Limit alcohol — Should you choose to drink, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.
For the most part, osteoporosis is thought of as a women’s affliction because more women get it than men. However, it is an affliction of older age and more women get it because they live longer. A senior man is very likely to contract osteoporosis also. Herewith, Harvard Medical School on the subject.
The best prevention for bone-thinning osteoporosis begins early — during the first two decades of life, when you can most influence your peak bone mass by getting enough calcium and vitamin D and doing bone-strengthening exercise. If you are over age 20, there’s no need to be discouraged. It’s never too late to adopt bone-preserving habits.
If you are a man younger than 65 or a premenopausal woman, these five strategies can help you shore up bone strength as a hedge against developing osteoporosis.
- Monitor your diet. Get enough calcium and vitamin D, ideally through the foods you eat. Although dairy products may be the richest sources of calcium, a growing number of foods, such as orange juice, are calcium-fortified. Fruits, vegetables, and grains provide other minerals crucial to bone health, such as magnesium and phosphorus.
- Maintain a reasonable weight. This is particularly important for women. Menstrual periods often stop in women who are underweight — due to a poor diet or excessive exercise — and that usually means that estrogen levels are too low to support bone growth.
- Don’t smoke and limit alcohol intake. Smoking and too much alcohol both decrease bone mass.
- Make sure your workouts include weight-bearing exercises. Regular weight-bearing exercise like walking, dancing, or step aerobics can protect your bones. Also include strength training as part of your exercise routine.
- Talk with your doctor about your risk factors. Certain medical conditions (like celiac disease) and some medications (steroids and others) can increase the chances that you will develop osteoporosis. It’s important to talk with your doctor to develop a prevention strategy that accounts for these factors.
For more on diagnosing and treating osteoporosis and developing an effective plan for your bones order, Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment.
With age, expression of a small molecule that can silence others goes way up while a key signaling molecule that helps stem cells make healthy bone goes down, scientists report.
They have the first evidence in both mouse and human mesenchymal stem cells that this unhealthy shift happens, and that correcting it can result in healthier bone formation.
The small molecule is microRNA-141-3p and the signaling molecule is stromal-cell derived factor, or SDF-1, they report in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.
“If you are 20 years old and making great bone, you would still have microRNA-141-3p in your mesenchymal stem cells. But when you are 81 and making weaker bone, you have a lot more of it,” says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, bone biologist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.
Restoring a more youthful balance could be a novel strategy for reducing age-associated problems likes osteoporosis and the impaired ability to heal bone breaks, says Fulzele, a corresponding author on the study. Continue reading
I have written numerous times about the dangers and negative effects of obesity. You can check out previous posts by typing in o b e s i t y in the search box on the right.
New research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine highlights the pernicious effect of obesity on the long-term health of blood-making stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells).
Published Dec. 27, the study was led by researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute. Conducted largely in genetic models of obese mice, it shows obesity causes durable and harmful changes to the hematopoietic stem cell compartment – the blood-making factory in our bodies. Continue reading
When it rains it pours. As if it weren’t difficult enough to be a senior citizen, it turns out that Type 2 diabetes adds a further level of complexity.
Though seniors with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) tend to have normal or higher bone density than their peers, researchers have found that they are more likely to succumb to fractures than seniors without T2D. In a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research found older adults with Type 2 diabetes had deficits in cortical bone–the dense outer surface of bone that forms a protective layer around the internal cavity– compared to non-diabetics. The findings suggest that the microarchitecture of cortical bone may be altered in seniors with T2D and thereby place them at increased risk of fracture.
Participants in this study included over 1,000 member of the Framingham Study who were examined over a period of 3 years. High resolution scanning allowed researchers to determine that many older adults with diabetes had weakness specific to cortical bone microarchitecture that cannot be measured by standard bone density testing.
Osteoporotic fractures are a significant public health problem that can lead to disability, decreased quality of life, and even death – not to mention significant health care costs. Risk of fracture is even greater in adults with T2D, including a 40 – 50% increased risk of hip fracture – the most serious of osteoporotic fractures.
“Fracture in older adults with Type 2 diabetes is a highly important public health problem and will only increase with the aging of the population and growing epidemic of diabetes. Our findings identify skeletal deficits that may contribute to excess fracture risk in older adults with diabetes and may ultimately lead to new approaches to improve prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Elizabeth Samelson, lead author of the study.
Researchers hope that novel studies such as this will help to revolutionize the area of bone health, especially for older adults. It is important to follow screening guidelines for bone density testing, but better understanding of all the factors that affect bone strength and the tendency to fracture is needed.
While eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog, I hasten to add that strength training should be an integral part of that move more aspect. Harvard HEALTHbeat has come out with a new publication on strength and power training.
Here’s what Harvard has to say on the subject: “Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.
“A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and poor nutrition conspire to steal bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.
“Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. Eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures a year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may be impossible.”
I have written several posts on osteoporosis. You can read further on the subject here: What Can I do to Prevent Osteoporosis? An Early Sign of Osteoporosis? Are Men Vulnerable to Osteoporosis as Well as Women? Continue reading
Thought you might enjoy this. I certainly did.
Infographic created by Vapester .
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Now hear the word of the Lord.
Those lyrics from an old spiritual have been running through my head since I started reading about osteoporosis and our bones.
More women are affected by osteoporosis than men, but we guys are definitely vulnerable, especially as we age.
Facts and statistics:
- Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
- Approximately two million American men already have osteoporosis. About 12 million more are at risk.
- Men older than 50 are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer.
- Each year, about 80,000 men will break a hip.
- Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. This is due to problems related to the break.
- Men can break bones in the spine or break a hip, but this usually happens at a later age than women.
Here’s what the National Osteoporosis Foundation has to say about it:
I wanted to include this for two reasons, first, it has excellent information about our bones and a lot of people are pretty ignorant about them, myself included. Second, I thought it was really beautiful, very creatively constructed.
Let’s face it most people take their bones for granite (sorry, couldn’t resist it). But, it is important to realize that we need to work to strengthen our bones, too. Make sure you include weight-bearing exercise in your life. It will keep your bones strong.
Because three out of four cases of osteoporosis are women, most people consider it a women’s disease, especially men. However, as I reported here, after the age of 50 men are as likely to get osteoporosis as prostate cancer. More to the point, older people of both sexes have great vulnerability to it.
Here’s what Harvard Health Publications has to say:
Don’t think men need to worry about osteoporosis? Think again. In fact, about one in four men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis during their lifetime, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
How can men protect themselves and lower their risk of osteoporosis? Here are some strategies: Continue reading
Women are vulnerable to bone density loss as they age.
Anti-inflammatory diets – which tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains – could boost bone health and prevent fractures in some women, a new study suggests.
Researchers examined data from the landmark Women’s Health Initiative to compare levels of inflammatory elements in the diet to bone mineral density and fractures and found new associations between food and bone health. The study, led by Tonya Orchard, an assistant professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University, appears in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Illustration of bone which has lost density.
Women with the least-inflammatory diets (based on a scoring system called the Dietary Inflammatory Index) lost less bone density during the six-year follow-up period than their peers with the most-inflammatory diets. This was despite the fact that they started off with lower bone density overall.
Furthermore, diets with low inflammatory potential appeared to correspond to lower risk of hip fracture among one subgroup of the study – post-menopausal white women younger than 63.
The findings suggest that women’s bone health could benefit when they choose a diet higher in beneficial fats, plants and whole grains, said Orchard, who is part of Ohio State’s Food Innovation Center.
“This suggests that as women age, healthy diets are impacting their bones,” Orchard said. “I think this gives us yet another reason to support the recommendations for a healthy diet in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” (my emphasis)
Because the study was observational, it’s not possible to definitively link dietary patterns and bone health and fracture outcomes. Continue reading
As much as folks seem to know and care about the fat and the muscles in their body, they remain pretty ignorant about their bones. This is a shame because in the case of the skeleton you don’t know can hurt you.
WebMD has thoughtfully provided a test – Myths and facts about your bones to get you up to speed on the subject.
Herewith are a couple of questions that will hopefully encourage you to click on the link and take the entire test yourself.
When do bones stop growing?
a They don’t
c Late 20s
I’m not going to spoil your fun by giving you the correct answer.
It’s important to remember that our bones are living tissue as much as our muscles. We need to work them with weight bearing exercise throughout our lives. Aerobic work is fine for our cardiovascular system, but get some weight work in regularly. Happily, going for a walk is weight bearing exercise.
To read more benefits of walking – Check out my Page – Why you should walk more.
I thought this was a really valuable infographic on a mineral that we all know about, but not nearly enough.
If you click on the picture, it becomes bigger and easier to read.
Pumpkin seeds – great source of zinc
Zinc is very important in the first line of defence in our bodies. This first line is represented by physical barriers, such as the skin and mucous membrane linings inside the body. Zinc is found in the mucous secretions of the respiratory system and on the surfaces of lungs and throat. It has an antimicrobial effect, so helps to kill inhaled bacteria and viruses before they get chance to take hold. Zinc is also secreted in the saliva and the mucous membranes of the digestive system to kill any ingested invaders.
Our Better Health
by Jane Cronin
Do you suffer from acne, stretch marks, white spots on your nails, poor wound healing, poor immunity? Zinc may have something to do with it. Here we discuss Zinc deficiency, causes, symptoms and why zinc is important.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral and is one of the most abundant to be found in the body. It is naturally found in some foods, added to others and also available as a dietary supplement. You have approximately 2-3g with around 60% is in the muscles that support your skeleton and 30% is in the bones. So if nothing else zinc plays an important part in keeping you upright. The remaining 10% is found in the teeth, hair, nails, skin, liver, leukocytes (white blood cells), prostate, sperm and testes.
So what are some functions of Zinc in the body?
Zinc makes things happen
Zinc is used in by…
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Watercress is most commonly consumed fresh in salads but can also be incorporated into pastas, casseroles and sauces just like any other green. Watercress will sauté faster than tougher greens like kale and collard greens because of its tenderness and lends a mild, slightly peppery taste to any dish.
Cooking with Kathy Man
Watercress, along with beetroot and other leafy greens, contain a very high level of dietary nitrate.
An ancient green said to have been a staple in Roman soldiers diets, watercress is actually a part of the cruciferous (also known as brassica) family of vegetables.
High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.2 Moderate intakes do not appear to have the same effects.1
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, two cups of fresh watercress (about 68 grams) contains only 7 calories.
Two cups of watercress also have 1.6 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, and 0.9 grams of carbohydrate (including 0.3 grams of fiber and 0.1 grams of sugar).
Consuming 2 cups of watercress will meet 212% of vitamin K, 48% of your vitamin C, 44% of vitamin A, 8% of calcium and…
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