Tag Archives: osteoporosis

Are you taking care of ‘dem bones?’

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.

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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:

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Physical benefits of yoga – Harvard

I am a great believer in the benefits of yoga, both physical and mental. You can search yoga in the tags at the right for any of my posts on the subject. Here are two I consider worth seeing: Why should I do yoga? and Are there immediate physical benefits to yoga?

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Sorry, I couldn’t resist rerunning this charming little piece of art.

Here is what Harvard Medical School has to say on the subject: Yoga promotes physical health in multiple ways. Some of them derive from better stress management. Others come more directly from the physical movements and postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.

Following are some of the physical benefits of yoga that have a growing body of research behind them. In addition to the conditions listed below, preliminary research also shows that yoga may help with migraines, osteoporosis, balance and mobility issues, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, and ADHD.

Back pain relief

Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Four out of five Americans will suffer from it at some point. But yoga appears to help. A 2013 meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials found “strong evidence for short-term effectiveness and moderate evidence for long-term effectiveness of yoga for chronic low-back pain.” In fact, since 2007, the American Society of Pain guidelines have urged physicians to consider recommending yoga to patients with long-term pain in the lower back.

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Dairy – Good or Bad? – MNT

I started drinking soymilk some years ago after reading some scare stories about cow milk consumption. I don’t even remember the reasons now, but I do look forward to my quarts of soymilk that I buy from Costco. Since starting I can’t put my finger on any negative health effects.

This extensive Medical News Today rundown by Hannah Nichols gives a lot of useful detail on the subject.

What do government health guidelines say? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food MyPlate guidelines, to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, healthy food and beverage choices should be made from all five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.

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The dairy food group consists of all fluid milk products and many foods that are made from milk. The USDA recommend that food choices from the dairy group should retain their calcium content and be low-fat or fat-free. Fat in milk, yogurt, and cheese that is not low-fat or fat-free will count toward your limit of calories from saturated fats.

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Weight-bearing exercises protect against osteoporosis – Study

Just two days ago I posted on older men being at risk of osteoporosis. “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.”

Now comes a new study that explains how weight-bearing exercises affect our bone structure and fight that disease.

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Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide and is a serious public health concern, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Now, Pamela Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, has published the first study in men to show that long-term, weight-bearing exercises decrease sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth. These changes promote bone formation, increasing bone density. Continue reading

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Older men at risk of osteoporosis – Harvard

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.

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How can men protect themselves and lower their risk of osteoporosis? Here are some strategies: Continue reading

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Study links benefits of osteoporosis treatment with better periodontal health

I have written about osteoporosis numerous times as it attacks us in our latter years for the most part. Also, women seem more vulnerable to it than men.
I ran across the following in my web wanderings. Guys, this is relevant to all the women in our lives, wives, mothers, relatives, so please check it out.
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Bone structure

Estrogen therapy has already been credited with helping women manage an array of menopause-related issues, including reducing hot flashes, improving heart health and bone density, and maintaining levels of sexual satisfaction.

Now a new study suggests that the same estrogen therapy used to treat osteoporosis can actually lead to healthier teeth and gums. The study outcomes were published online in
Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause  Society (NAMS).

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Two keys to strong bones … Harvard

Although bone-weakening osteoporosis is quite common among older people, it isn’t an inevitable part of aging. There’s a lot you can do to shield your bones from this disease.

While it is true that women account for most cases of osteoporosis. I think the fact that they outlive men, and the disease usually hits after late 50’s, because women outlive us, a disproportionate number of women get the disease. The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that worldwide, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men aged over 50.

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The best insurance against osteoporosis is building the highest bone density possible by your 30s and minimizing bone loss after that. But if you’re already in midlife or beyond, there is still much you can do to preserve the bone you have and perhaps even to replace lost bone. Daily weight-bearing exercise, like walking, is the best medicine. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D are two other critical strategies for keeping bones strong.

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Boning up on bones – WebMD

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.

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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.

Number one:

When do bones stop growing?

a  They don’t

b  Puberty

c  Late 20s

I’m not going to spoil your fun by giving you the correct answer.
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Why You Need to do Strength Training – Harvard

Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. Part of moving more includes weight-bearing exercise. Turns out our bones need to be worked, too. Not just our muscles.

Harvard Healthbeat says, “Regular physical activity promotes general good health, reduces the risk of developing many diseases, and helps you live a longer and healthier life. For many of us, “exercise” means walking, jogging, treadmill work, or other activities that get the heart pumping.

cardio-vs-weight-training-1“But often overlooked is the value of strength-building exercises. Once you reach your 50s and beyond, strength (or resistance) training is critical to preserving the ability to perform the most ordinary activities of daily living — and to maintain an active and independent lifestyle. Continue reading

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Opinion: 3 Myths About Dairy-free Foods

Calcium is critical for many of the body’s basic functions, including regulating your heartbeat, says Victor Khabie, M.D. chief of sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. “The bones are a storehouse for calcium and if you’re not ingesting enough orally then the body will take calcium from your bones to keep the level of calcium in your blood normal.” And that can lead to osteoporosis, or brittle bones. The body also requires adequate protein and vitamin D to “remodel” bone, the process that keeps bone healthy.

To read further on calcium and osteoporosis, check out these posts:
Calcium – The Key to Strong bones – Infographic
The Benefits of Calcium
Calcium Supplements Linked to Longer Lifespans in Women
The Joys and Benefits of Bike Riding

Preventing Osteoporosis Takes a Lifestyle Change
What Can I do to Prevent Osteoporosis?
What is a New Weapon Against Osteoporosis?
Beating Osteoporosis – Harvard

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Calcium is important even when you’re older, and milk can be a fine way to get it.

Have you sworn off dairy? Maybe you think it will ease your stomach woes. Or, now that you’re middle-aged, you assume your bones don’t need as much. Or maybe you’re just drawn to all the dairy-free options now on supermarket shelves, including dairy-free ice cream, yogurt, and coffee creamer. Should you join the crowd? Probably not. “Unless you have a medical reason to skip dairy, such as an allergy to milk protein, adults can benefit by eating some dairy every day,” says Consumer Reports chief medical adviser Marvin M. Lipman, M.D.

Here we take a look at some common myths about milk and other dairy products.

Myth 1: After age 30 you don’t need calcium for your bones

It’s true that you reach peak bone mass by age 30, so getting calcium before…

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Is Milk Your Friend or Foe?

    But this new study found that drinking large amounts of milk did not protect men or women from bone fractures, and was linked to an overall higher risk of death during the study period.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Instead of reduction in fractures, study suggests higher risk of heart disease, cancer.

Drinking lots of milk could be bad for your health, a new study reports.

Previous research has shown that the calcium in milk can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. These benefits to bone health have led U.S. health officials to recommend milk as part of a healthy diet.

But this new study found that drinking large amounts of milk did not protect men or women from bone fractures, and was linked to an overall higher risk of death during the study period.

However, the researchers said the results should be viewed with caution.

Women who drank three glasses of milk or more every day had a nearly doubled risk of death and cardiovascular disease, and a 44 percent increased risk of cancer compared to women who drank less than one glass per day, the researchers found.

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Adding Vitamin D for the Winter Months – Guest Post – Kelli Jennings

Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.

And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.

Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her healthy and intelligent eating.

She recently wrote an item Adding Vitamin D for the Winter Months that I thought would interest you. Most importantly, you do not have to be a cyclist to benefit from Kelli’s information. I have written about Vitamin D as beneficial to every person. These ideas should benefit you, too, whether you ride a bike or not.
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If you are out on your bike most days, you likely believe you get plenty enough sunshine to make plenty enough Vitamin D.  I get it.  I’m lucky enough to live in a state that boosts more than 300 days a year of sunshine.  So, how come so many of us are Vitamin D deficient?

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If you’ve never had your Vitamin D levels checked, you may be in for a surprise.  And, if you find your motivation and mood wavering and eventually diminishing each year in the cold-weather months, you may just find out why.

In fact, it’s not only an issue for athletes, but it’s estimated that at least 25-50% of adults in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D; which is a bit ironic, as it is the only vitamin that our bodies are able to produce (with adequate sunlight).  However, it may be this ability to produce it that gives us a false sense of optimism and a lack of urgency in eating Vitamin D food sources and supplementing.  There are many reasons why we become deficient, and even more reasons to make sure you’re not.

So, what are the implications for cyclists and how can you get enough?

It’s long been known that Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium, and therefore, for bone health.  In fact, it was historically thought that the main benefit of Vitamin D was to reduce risk of rickets.  In the last two decades, however, more and more research is finding that Vitamin D’s reach goes far beyond bones.  In fact, it has significant implications on overall health and wellness, respiratory infections, athletic performance, and mood.

Here’s what every cyclist needs to know:
Vitamin D for Athletic Performance:

Reduces Inflammation: After intense exercise, elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines circulate throughout athletes’ bodies.  Vitamin D, along with omega-3 fats from fish oil, reduce the production of cytokines, while increasing the production of anti-inflammatory components.  This can improve recovery, reduce fatigue, and improve overall health.
Improves Immune Function: In studies, Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with colds, influenza, and respiratory infections. On the other hand, adequate levels of Vitamin D trigger our immune system macrophage cells to release antibacterial peptides, which play a role in infection prevention.  If you want to stay well this Winter, get your Vitamin D.
Prevents Muscle Weakness and Fat Accumulation in Muscles:  Vitamin D deficiency is associated with elevated fat accumulation in muscles, which in turn reduces muscle strength and performance.  In at least one study, the deficiency and loss of muscle strength was demonstrated independent of muscle mass…muscle was actually displaced with fat AND weaker than it should be.  What’s more, there is evidence that supplementation of Vitamin D in deficient persons increases fast twitch muscle fibers in number and size, and reduces injuries (in athletes) and falls (in elderly).
Improves Overall Performance: Studies have shown a steady decline in performance in low-sunlight months, improved performance when athletes are exposed to UV rays (1950s), and peak performance when blood levels of 25 (OH) D are at or above 50 ng/mL.  What’s more, maximum oxygen uptake, or VO2 Max, drops in athletes in months when less UV rays reach the Earth, such as in late Fall months.
Vitamin D for Overall Wellness:
In addition to athletic performance, Vitamin D’s also important for:

Regulating Blood Pressure
Normalizing Blood Sugars and Insulin
Preventing Cancer, especially bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate, and rectal cancer
Steady Moods and Prevention of Depression

Now that we know how important Vitamin D is, it’s no wonder that many experts believe the recommended amounts, and  “normal ranges” for lab values should be much higher than previously established.  But what other factors contribute to our seemingly inadequate intake and levels? Continue reading

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Strength Training Builds More Than Muscles – Harvard

While eat less move more is the mantra of this blog, I must 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.

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“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?

“Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related decline in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength training (and weight-bearing aerobic exercise like walking or running) provide the stress. The result is stronger, denser bones.

“And strength training has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which, along with the ribs, are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts — particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance — enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures by cutting down on falls.

“For more information on the benefits of strength training, buy Strength and Power Training, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.”

Tony

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How Healthy are Strawberries?

The Strawberry Moon coincides with Friday the 13th this year. We prefer to look at the bright side which is the first day of strawberry season according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Forget triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).

In honor of the strawberry moon here are a couple of infographics on the strawberry:

 

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Isn’t it wonderful that something that tastes so good is so healthy to eat?

 

Tony

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5 Ways to Boost Bone Strength Early – Harvard

Although osteoporosis is widely thought of as a ‘woman’s affliction,’ it is by no means exclusive to the fair sex. While on balance women suffer from osteoporosis three times more often than men, once a man reaches middle age, his odds of catching it increase. I have written about osteoporosis a number of times from various angles. If you are interested, you can click on any of the links at the end of this post to read further.

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Harvard HEALTHbeat offers some worthwhile insights on it in the most recent issue.

“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 pre-menopausal woman, these five strategies can help you shore up bone strength as a hedge against developing osteoporosis.”

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Don’t smoke, and limit alcohol intake. Smoking and too much alcohol both decrease bone mass.
4.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.
5.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.”

They offer a link to their booklet on diagnosing and treating osteoporosis and developing an effective plan for your bones: Osteoporosis: A guide to prevention and treatment.

Here are the links for my previous posts on osteoporosis:
Practice Training for Bones as Well as Muscles

The Benefits of Calcium

Is Walking as Effective an Exercise as Running?

Are Men Vulnerable to Osteoporosis as well as Women?

Cycling Pros Have Increased Risk to Osteoporosis

An Early Sign of Osteoporosis?

What is a New Weapon Against Osteoporosis?

What are Some Foods to Protect Against Osteoporosis?

What Can I Do To Prevent Osteoporosis?

Tony

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What Can I Do To Prevent Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease that affects the entire world population. The International Osteoporosis Foundation reports:

•    Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds.
•    Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide – approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90.
•    Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan.

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“Men don’t suffer from osteoporosis as often as women, but they are indeed vulnerable. The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that the lifetime risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture in men over the age of 50 is 30%, similar to the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.” That quote is from my post Are men vulnerable to osteoporosis as well as women?

Here are some steps you can take to prevent osteoporisis:

1. Calcium and Vitamin D are key. These minerals build strong, dense bones.

2. Exercise regularly. You need to do weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise. Walking, dancing and running all help to build strong bones.

3. Eat fruits and veggies that have potassium and magnesium to help neutralize the acids that draw minerals out of the bones.

4. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.

To read further on this disease, check out the following posts:

What are Some foods to protect against Osteoporosis?

An Early Sign of Osteoporosis?

How to Beat Osteoporosis – Harvard

Is walking as effective as running?

Tony

 

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