What Does Bone Density Mean?
It might be surprising but not many of us know. Well, if facts and medical research are true, then you might find it hard to believe that one in two women and one in four men who are above the age of fifty are bound to have osteoporosis. Well, osteoporosis means lack of bone density. Now this may be a surprise. Men suffer from low bone density too! Can it really be true? Yes!
Do you know what is the advanced effects of bone loss? It is normally a humped upper back and sometimes it can be shattered limbs. Well, it can be avoided, if people start to consume nutritious food and do exercises.
Knowing More About Bone Density (Osteoporosis)
Like most body parts, our bone is a living tissue. They have blood vessels, nerves, and marrow. These are where the blood cells are created and move. Bones have the essential quality of constantly getting torn out and rebuilding by themselves. Well, you can say that it is like a freeway construction project. One which never ends. Hence, it means that without any reinforcement and repair, even the ones having minor sports, our bones can get broken on regular basis. Ouch!
Measuring Bone Density
Let’s see how bone density is measured. Now this is measured with a painless and low radiation X-ray. Now based on the X-ray result, the score derived is called as T-score. Based on the patient’s bone density number, it will be compared to the bone density of an average person who is between 20 and 30 years. For women this is the peak bone density of their life. Now if the score is lower, the higher the chances are for facing fracture.
Let’s say your T-score is below -2.5 or equal to it, then women need to be cautious. This indicates osteoporosis and can somewhat be cured with medication. Normal score is -1 or higher. If you have scored that ranges from -0.1 to -2.5, it means low bone density.
Avoiding Bone Density (Osteoporosis)
For avoiding porous, i.e. breakable bones as you age, you need to have good amount of vitamin D and calcium. Human body uses calcium not only to have good teeth but also for other functions too. Calcium can help make your bones stronger and grow faster. However, calcium is not the only component needed. Human bones are made up of one-third collagen. This is a protein that makes your bone flexible.
Scientist and medical research feel that we need to look at animals that have large bones like elephants and cows. What do they eat? Well, it is nothing but leafy plants. It might be astonishing to know that the biggest component of a healthy diet for good bones is leafy greens. You can either have it cooked or raw which is as per your hunger or diet choice.
Green veggies or leafy ones provide not only calcium but also potassium, vitamin K, and other nutrients as well as minerals. Hence, the best recommendation is to have vegetables!
The next aspect that you might wonder about is Vitamin D. What you might not realize is that Vitamin D plays a major role in making your bones strong. Believe it or not they are good source of necessary elements and you get abundance from sun. So, where to get good amount of Vitamin D? Just take a 15 or 20 minutes’ walk every day without sunblock.
Another building block for robust bones is proteins. You do remember about collagen from somewhere. You can mix up your day to day diet with fish, beans and chicken to get proteins. Of course, such alternative diets are filled with proteins of various food. No one wants to have the same boring food every day.
Even doctors and medical experts recommend making one’s own stock of protein. All you need is some animal bones. Just take a tablespoon of vinegar and add it in together with eight cups of water. This is enough to pull out the calcium from the bones of animals. You can throw in some onions, carrots, pepper to make it more delicious.
If you feel this is filled with richness, then it is recommended that you add some canten or kombu which is a mineral loaded flavourless seaweed that is found in abundance in various health food stores. You can even try whole grain bread or pasta. They provide good amounts of magnesium which plays a vital role in maintaining strong bones.
Thinking About Milk or Other Supplements
Some people like this mantra – “Drink a glass of milk and get a healthy body”. So, how much of this theory is true? Well, various research and studies show that milk doesn’t play a major role in keeping your bones strong. Frankly, if most of you do an research online, you might come across that most fractures occur in countries where there is a huge consumption of milk.
Of course, you can consider low-fat milk or yogurt. Avoid a whole lot of sugar, caffeine, stress and habitual dieting. These components aren’t your best friend and even your bones would end up starving or dying because of lack of necessary nutrition.
Hence, it all comes down to having green leafy veggies and fruits. That might not be possible for women who crossed the age of fifty. They surely should be consuming some good and healthy calcium supplements. As per various medical institutions, women who crossed the age of fifty need roughly about 1,200-1,300 mg of calcium supplements each day.
Hence, the question arising in your mind is whether it is calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. In such situation, it is tough to provide a perfect answer. The best thing you can do is consult your doctor or bone specialist. However, if you are going to take the calcium pill, just remember to pop one only on those days when you aren’t eating a whole lot of calcium.
What Causes People to Suffer from Bone Density?
There is abundance of causes related to people having osteoporosis. It is not that people have genetic relationship for lack of bone density. They really suffer from certain conditions which might make them a victim of low bone density.
Bone density loses gets reduced due to aging, excessive consumption of medications used in asthma, arthritis, and breast cancer. There are even chances that Addison and Crohn’s disease might lead to reduction of bone density.
There is certain illness like hypopituitarism, hyperthyroidism and eating disorder which will make the bones lose their strength. Some of the major reasons for the lack of bone density are –
‘Old age is a curse’. This is probably true regarding bone density. Aging can drastically reduce a person’s bone strength. More bones get broken or wear down compared to the ones that are made. Hence, it means that everyone will suffer from osteoporosis if they live for a longer time.
If you drink alcohol, then it is a red flag. Excessive intake of alcohol will increase the chances of having osteoporosis.
- Breast Cancer
There is a higher chance for women suffer from breast cancer to develop osteoporosis. It is due to the treatment used and the kind of effect it will have on the oestrogen levels.
Having a lack of calcium in your body will simply affect your bone strength. Not to forget even your muscles that are supporting the bone. In such case, taking adequate intake of calcium is simply necessary.
- Corticosteroid Therapy
This is a steroid replacement hormone. Most of them like Cortisone, Prednisolone, Hydrocortisone Dexamethasone are major causes for the lack of bone density. A long-term usage of oral corticosteroid (i.e more than three months) which is in the dosage of five to six milligram of per day can affect your bone. These will surely reduce your bone formation as well as bone density.
Keep in mind that there can be other risk factors leading to osteoporosis (which is like postmenopausal). If they are there, then the effect on the bones will be severe. The corticosteroid therapy is prescribed in various conditions like –
■ Chronic Airways Disease
■ Rheumatoid Arthritis
■ Certain Skin Conditions
■ Inflammatory Bowel Disease (like Crohn’s Disease)
■ Inflammatory Conditions like Polymyalgia Rheumatica (this affects the joints and muscles leading to stiffness and pain)
- Addison Disease
This is one that causes the deficiency in the hormone cortisol. Frankly, this is treated with the corticosteroid drugs which can replace the cortisol
- Eating Disorder
Here you need to understand that eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa can destroy your bones. They can cause bone density and create deficiencies in nutrition. This will affect hormone levels.
Sometimes your periods (which can be due to excessive exercise routines or poor nutrition), there is a slight chance that your oestrogen level decreases. This will in turn lower your bone density. Now not many people know that eating disorder at the early age of adolescence is dangerous.
It is this age that the skeletal is growing and it will simply reduce the chance of having required bone mass and can lead to serious osteoporosis among women who are in the early age of 20 – 22. If you are suffering from bone density after the growth of skeletal, then there is a less chance or risk of lowering your bone mineral density.
Simple Tricks to Boost your Bones Daily
Check out some of the major lifestyle changes you can make to increase your bone density –
- Running Quickly
Don’t have the required time? You won’t need it. Just by running, you can live longer as well as increase your bone density. A two to three minutes of running each day will be like high intensity workout. This will make it easier to measure bone health. Studies show that high impact activities will stimulate the bone cells. This will simply improve bone density.
- Lifting Weights
You might be a postmenopausal woman. One who does lower impact impact activity two to four times each week. In such case by trying out dumbbell exercises and weight machine or any kid of weight bearing endurance activities like light jogging, walking, and aerobics might be the best remedy for increasing your bone density.
- Get Down & Dance
Seriously, just dance! It is like jogging or using the weight machine. Dancing can increase one’s weight. That is possible through bones and muscles which in turn increase bone density.
- Take Some D Pills
Do you know Vitamin D is the major contributor for bone density? It helps in absorption of calcium for the body. Doctors and physicians suggest that taking supplements might help in balancing your Vitamin D.
- Avoid Soda
Want to have one more reason to skip soda? Let go off the habit of having soda. A study was conducted some years back. It stated that for every serving of the bubbly stuff, there is 15% chance for a woman to suffer from less bone density. Research doesn’t say the reason or the cause. There is past research that state it can be due to phosphorus, caffeine, or sugar that interferes with the level of calcium in the body.
Better Late Than Never
Suffering from less or lack of bone density might not be a problem today. But it will be in the future. At times taking precaution can be helpful. Seriously, you don’t want to live your life like Mr Glass of the Unbreakable movie. A simple hit on your bone and you end up in the hospital nursing your injury and getting facture. Not something that you want to have in your old age. You must consider a holistic approach of exercise and nutrition to help you get on top of this. There is no fixed answer and you need to find one to help you through your golden years as good quality of life is what we aim for.