How is your bone health?

 

Chances are that unless you have had a DEXA (bone density) scan you won’t know.

Losing bone density is a normal part of ageing. We achieve our ‘peak bone mass’ by our late 20’s and a decade or so afterwards we start making ‘withdrawals from the bone bank account’.

Osteoporosis is a condition of LOW BONE DENSITY and Osteopenia is the less severe form where bone density is lower than average.

Sadly a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis is often only made after a fracture.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis after the age of 50.

 

Signs that you may be at risk from Osteopenia/Osteoporosis are

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Low BMI
  • Early menopause, steroid use, Rheumatoid arthritis and Diabetes
  • Diet low in Calcium and Protein
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • History of fragility fractures i.e., Fractures after falling from body height.

 

But we now know that muscle is important for bone health too, which is great news as this is something we can easily improve.

 

Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength.

Osteosarcopenia is when you have both osteopenia/osteoporosis AND sarcopenia. The term came in to use in 2014 so this is relatively new science, but studies suggest you have

3 x increased risk of falls and 4 x increased risk of fracture if you have Osteosarcopenia compared to those with Osteopenia/Osteoporosis alone,

 

THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE IS

BUILDING AND MAINTAINING MUSCLE MASS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!

 

  • Eat calcium rich foods
  • Boost your vitamin D levels with plenty of sunlight exposure or supplementation
  • Make sure you are eating enough protein. 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight.
  • Take regular weight bearing exercise, 30mins per day
  • Do balance exercises
  • Do strength training
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption
 
And it’s important to reduce your risk of falls too! Wear good shoes where possible with non-slip soles. Avoid slippery surfaces and don’t wear your bifocals or varifocals when you are out and about. They are known to be problematic contributing to the risk of falls.