The Importance of Maintaining Bone Strength as You Age

As you age, your bones are vulnerable to degeneration. Maximum bone size and strength is usually reached when you’re between the ages of 25 and 30. And by the age of 40, most people slowly start to lose bone mass. Declines in bone density can be a serious health problem. Slow this loss as you age and maintain as much strength as possible to preserve your health and ability to function every day.

Bone loss and osteoporosis

Your bones are living tissue that constantly change. As old bone breaks down, new bone forms. In your youth, your body builds new bone faster than the bone breaks down, so your skeleton stays strong.

As you get older, though, the process of laying down new bone slows. When you don’t actively maintain the strength of your bones, you’re at a greater risk of losing too much bone and developing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is diagnosed when your bones become brittle and fragile. They are then quite vulnerable to fractures, which can be hard to heal. Fractures due to osteoporosis can cause serious disability and limit your independence.

Bones and calcium

Bones serve as a storage space for calcium, an essential mineral that is responsible for many important functions, including muscle action, hormone production, and nerve function. Your body takes calcium from your bones so it can function, and if you don’t replace it, your bones weaken.

Steps for maintaining bone strength

The good news is that you can take steps to boost your bone health for the long-term. Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods, including dairy, almonds, leafy greens, and calcium-added juices. Aim for about 1,200 milligrams every day once you reach the age of 50.

Getting adequate amounts of vitamin D also helps maintain bone health. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and store it in your bones. Adults need 600 international units daily. After age 70, increase this to 800 international units per day. Sources of vitamin D include tuna, sardines, fortified milk, and egg yolks. Daily exposure to sunlight also helps your body synthesize its own vitamin D.

Physical activity also contributes to bone health, specifically weight-bearing exercises that include walking, climbing stairs, weight training, and yoga. Your bones respond to exercise stress by laying down more tissue, thus becoming stronger.

As you age, avoid excessive drinking, as it can contribute to bone loss. Stick to no more than two alcoholic drinks per day. And quit using tobacco, because it contributes to many health problems, including bone loss.

Women are at a greater risk of bone loss than men because they have less bone mass to start with. Plus, the hormone changes that occur with menopause lead to dramatic losses in bone density. Even if you take all the important steps to protect yourself from bone loss, you may require support from the doctors at Washington HealthCare to protect you from or treat osteoporosis. Don’t hesitate to call or schedule an appointment online if you are at risk of bone loss or concerned about osteoporosis.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Here's How Your Doctor Can Help You Lose Weight

Weight loss is a complex metabolic process. You’ve read the articles that suggest you just eat less and move more, but that doesn’t always work. You need more. See what medically supervised weight loss can do to help.

The Building Blocks of a Low Cholesterol Diet

If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol or high triglycerides, a change in your diet is part of the treatment. Learn what the foundations of a low cholesterol diet are so you can reduce your levels and lower your risk of heart disease.

3 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Treat Hypertension

Hypertension is often controlled with medication, but you can delay the need for this pharmaceutical intervention with healthy lifestyle habits. Here are three of the most important steps you can take to control your blood pressure.