As we age, the strength of our bones deteriorates, and we must do what’s necessary to maintain strength, balance, and bone health at all stages of our lives. According to a specialist orthopaedic surgeon at Saudi German Clinic, Dr Sharmila Tulpule, it is never too late to begin taking steps to ensure that we age healthily and have healthy bones and joints. Dr Tulpule speaks to Omnia Health Insights about her essential recommendations for staying bone healthy.
Strength and flexibility
Strength and flexibility exercises are essential and benefit bone health, and exercise increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. Inactivity is our enemy as we age, mainly because our joints can lose almost half their motion. Any injuries can compound the issue. Regular stretching exercises and walks will help keep joints and muscles healthy and flexible.
Walking is a weight‐bearing exercise. However, regular low-impact exercises have proven to slow down the process of bone and joint health degradation. This is also true for people who have arthritis.
A bone-healthy diet
It is generally known that lean protein and high fibre fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the best for health. This is especially true for older people. Likewise, calcium and vitamin D are essential for healthy bones. Vitamin D helps in effectively absorbing calcium from the foods we eat. Fish is one of the primary foods with a substantial natural level of vitamin D.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Smoking and regular drinking of alcohol contribute to weak bones. It’s advisable to stay away from these to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Seek medical advice
A doctor should address any concerns about bone health at the earliest. A bone density test can help gauge bone density and determine the rate of bone loss.
A Dexa scan measures bone density. It is a small scanning machine that tests for the exact density values of bones, mainly of the spine, hips, wrists, and heels. Results can be classified, as usual, osteopenia (beginning of osteoporosis) and established osteoporosis.
Treatment modalities are many - treatment of osteoporosis consists mainly of lifestyle modification, exercises, diet, and drugs. Medications are either in tablets or injections, which could be either six months or yearly.