This Thursday 20/10/16 is National Osteoprorosis Day. Aargh, not another 'day' I hear you all groan.... Hold up, this one is different, knowledge of osteoporosis and your risk might just save your life.
Ah ha, got your attention.
First up - some facts.
Your bones or skeleton quite literally is the scaffolding you depend on. The internal structure or trabeculae is very similar to scaffold. Whereas scaffold is fixed and inert your living bone is constantly changing and remodelling, reacting to the different stresses and strains you put it through.
Osteoporosis, often called brittle or thinning bones is a process where that structure is weakened and the renewal process is slower.
Most people associate this disease with little old ladies and yes, age and being female are risk factors but it can affect men and younger people too.
Second - know your risk
Being female and post menopause are the biggest risk factors. An increased risk can also be genetic. If you can, ask your Mum or Grandmother, have they suffered any broken bones, is their posture gradually becoming more stooped?
Other risk factors are certain conditions such as diabetes (Type1), inflammatory bowel conditions or certain drugs such as steroids taken to help asthma. A history of eating disorders or exclusion diets may also increase your risk of developing weaker bones. There are not many people who really need to follow restrictive diets unless under medical supervision.
Panic not! There are many things you can do to reduce your risk.
Third - start young
You are what you eat! So no faddy exclusion diets, unless there is a medical reason. If dairy is an issue for you, calcium is abundant in green leafy veg and tuna.
Keep your weight stable, try to find your 'goldilocks' weight, not too fat or thin.
Fourth - pump iron.
No, you don't have to morph into Arnie, however bones react to stress and load, so go load them, especially if you are female and into the menopause. A couple of weight sessions a week will help reduce your risk. Ask at your local gym, get some good advice and a routine. Body weight exercise is good to, so walk, run, skip, dance, twirl....
Almost there -
If you have any concerns, maybe about family history then go along and chat to your GP. A simple question session will assess your risk and if necessary bone density X-rays may be suggested or even simple course of medication.
Why is bone health so vitally important? Fractured bones, especially hips in the older person will reduce your ability to live an independent life, it increases your risk of disability and even morbidity.
Take action, reduce your risk and stay healthy and active. :)