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Osteoporosis

Age comes with a variety of fun & not so fun side effects.  For some people, arthritis will be a daily burden, for others it will be a loss of vision or hearing.  For many people, especially women, osteoporosis is something to be constantly aware of.

Osteoporosis is a condition (often occurring during aging) which causes brittle or fragile bones.  It can have various causes, but deficiencies in Vitamin D & Calcium are likely found in people that have this condition.

This brittleness of the bones can make it much easier for the bones to fracture or break.  Hip bones, spine, & wrist bones are some of the most common bones affected.  A proper diagnosis should be sought if you suspect that you have osteoporosis, but what practical, non -medical steps can you take to combat this loss of density?

1st. A healthy diet.  A balanced diet is important for all bodily functions, including that maintenance of bones & tissues.  Eating food which give you the required amounts of Vitamin D and Calcium for your body is important.  Some foods high in Vitamin D are egg yolks, yogurt, almonds, salmon, & mushrooms.  Foods high in calcium include: almonds, broccoli, oranges, cheese, navy beans, etc.  These lists are by no means exhaustive, but are a starting place while looking at your diet.  It’s important that your diet is varied & includes fresh ingredients so that you can get the most nutrition out of the foods that you are ingesting.

2nd. Supplements.  If you find out that you are deficient in certain vitamins & minerals, be sure that you begin a regimen that includes them as supplements.  Also, be sure to research whether the vitamin or mineral that you are lacking needs another supplement to be absorbed appropriately.  Iron, for instance, needs Vitamin C for your body to adequately absorb the iron. Many doctors recommend taking fish oil capsules to help build bone density as we age.

3rd. Exercise.  Different types of exercise can be helpful for those suffering from osteoporosis.  It may seem strange, as we often think of bones as being somewhat like 2X4’s in a building, simply framework.  But, bones are living things consisting of tissues that can also be strengthened from within.  If we give the bones what they need & then continue with a good exercise routine, it can make all the difference in the health of our bones.  Weight-bearing exercise should be approached first.  Build up your bones by doing activities that require you to work against gravity.  This may be as simple as carrying in groceries, or picking up jugs of water from the floor, or even climbing stairs.  Use different sets of muscles & bones, but be consistent.

4th. Other lifestyle changes.  Be sure that you stop doing things that could be draining your body of the life-giving measures that you are taking through nutrition & supplements.  Stop smoking if you do so.  If you drink caffeinated beverages, stop.  Caffeine seems to give energy & life, but, it depletes your body of the calcium that you are working so hard to build back up.

All of us have different challenges as we age, but facing them head-on with strength instead of fear can make all the difference in us aging with dignity.  Osteoporosis is one such struggle, but in need not limit your life if you’re willing to face it & make necessary changes!

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