Look­ing af­ter your bones is so im­por­tant

Midweek Visiter - - Age concern -

THERE is a lot of at­ten­tion in the me­dia given to look­ing af­ter your heart, lungs and cir­cu­la­tion but let’s not for­get our bones and how amaz­ing they are.

Here are a few facts about bones and why we should look af­ter them:

The hu­man skele­ton is made up of 206 bones

With­out bones our hearts would col­lapse, we couldn’t breathe, walk or move about

Bones are where our bod­ies store ap­prox­i­mately 1kg of cal­cium... we also make blood cells and store iron in our bone mar­row

Slowly los­ing min­er­als in bone (bone min­eral den­sity) is a nor­mal part of the age­ing process

Loss of bone min­eral den­sity hap­pens faster in some in­di­vid­u­als, es­pe­cially in women af­ter the menopause, and in both men and women with chronic dis­eases such as rheuma­toid arthri­tis, coeliac or Crohn’s dis­ease

By the age of 75 half of the UK pop­u­la­tion has os­teo­poro­sis even if not al­ways for­mally di­ag­nosed or treated

1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will frac­ture a bone mainly due to poor bone health (usu­ally os­teo­poro­sis)

Os­teo­poro­sis is a con­di­tion in which bones lose their strength and are more likely to break. It doesn’t show any out­ward symp­toms and the first sign is of­ten a bro­ken bone.

If you have os­teo­poro­sis or think you may have it ask your GP for some ad­vice or con­tact the Na­tional Os­teo­poro­sis So­ci­ety (0808 800 0035).

What can you do to keep your bones healthy?

Keep ac­tive: bones re­spond to stresses and strains and will keep stronger for longer if you keep ac­tive.

Walk­ing and ac­tiv­i­ties when you are stand­ing are best to keep bones stronger... even chair ex­er­cises help.

Main­tain good bal­ance and co- or­di­na­tion to re­duce the risk of fall­ing, ac­tiv­i­ties such as Tai Chi can be par­tic­u­larly help­ful.

Strong mus­cles go hand-in-hand with good bal­ance: any ex­er­cise will help sharpen your bal­ance and co­or­di­na­tion. Re­duce your risk of fall­ing. Most falls oc­cur in the home. Re­move haz­ards like loose rugs and elec­tric cords, wear well-fit­ting footwear and check eye­sight reg­u­larly.

Main­tain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

You need cal­cium and vi­ta­min D as part of a var­ied diet to keep bones healthy.

The gen­eral rec­om­men­da­tions are to eat at least five por­tions of a va­ri­ety of fruit and veg­eta­bles, plenty of starchy food, milk and dairy prod­ucts, some pro­tein from meat, fish or nuts and pulses and a small amount of food and drinks which are high in fat or sugar every day.

Cal­cium and vi­ta­min D are par­tic­u­larly rich in dairy pro­duce (even skimmed milk) and green leafy veg­eta­bles.

Smok­ing and al­co­hol (more than three units a day) both re­duce your bone health by starv­ing the bone cells of the nu­tri­ents they need.

Re­view your medicines with your GP.

Some drugs are well known to in­crease your risk of os­teo­poro­sis and al­though they may be es­sen­tial to keep you well, sim­ple ad­di­tional ad­vice can of­ten bal­ance their risks.

THIS ar­ti­cle is de­rived from a piece orig­i­nally writ­ten by Fiona Cow­ell, Ex­tended Scope Phys­io­ther­a­pist in Trauma Man­age­ment at Royal Liver­pool & Broad­green Hos­pi­tals Trust.

Keep­ing ac­tive is vi­tal to main­tain­ing healthy bones

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