Musculoskeletal Disease in seniors. (Bone Density)
In this post, I will be looking at bone density one of the Musculosketial diseases that can affect us.
Bone is made mostly of collagen, a protein that is woven into a flexible framework.
Bone also contains calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate, minerals that add strength and harden the framework.
The combination of calcium and collagen gives the bone its strength and flexibility.
The flexibility (or ability to withstand stress) of the bone protects it from breaking.
Bone is strong because of calcium, but bone also acts as a storehouse for calcium.
In fact, more than 99% of the body’s calcium is contained in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% is in the blood.
As we age the bones deteriorate in composition function and structure. The is deterioration is a sign that there may be a problem with the bone’s density. And therefore it could be a sign of osteoporosis
WebMd define asteoporosis ashttps://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, which means “porous bones,” is a condition that causes bones to gradually thin and weaken, leaving them susceptible to fractures. About 2 million fractures occur each year due to osteoporosis.
Cause of bone loss
Bone is a dynamic organ It undergoes a continual self-regeneration process called remodeling.
Remodeling removes old bone and replaces it with new bone. This process occurs in distinct areas of bone known as bone metabolic units
Bone loss occurs when more bone is resorbed than is formed by the body. Many factors determine how much old bone is resorbed and how much new bone is made.
Some factors people have control over (such as diet), but some factors are out of their control (such as age).
Most new bone is added during the childhood and teenage years. As a result, bones become larger, heavier, and stronger (denser).
Bone formation continues until the peak bone mass (maximum solidness and strength) is reached.
Peak bone mass (or bone density) is reached around age 30. After age 30, bone resorption slowly begins to exceed new bone formation.
This leads to bone loss. Bone loss in women occurs fastest in the first few years after menopause, but bone loss continues into old age.
Factors that can contribute to bone loss include having a diet low in calcium, not exercising, smoking, and taking certain medications such as corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids may cause osteoporosis when used chronically.
Men are also at risk for bone loss. Even though bone loss usually occurs later in life compared to women, men can still be at high risk for osteoporosis.
By age 65, men catch up to women and lose bone mass at the same rate. Additional risk factors such as a small body frame, long-term use of corticosteroids (which are medications prescribed for a wide range of diseases, including arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s disease lupus, and other diseases), or low testosterone (or sex hormone) levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis in men.
Certain women are at higher risk for developing the very porous bones and bone fractures associated with osteoporosis.
Women who are thin or have a small frame are at higher risk, as are those who smoke, drink more than moderately, or live a sedentary lifestyle.
Women with a family history of hip fracture and those who have had their ovaries removed, especially before age 40, are also more prone to the condition.
White and Asian women are more frequently affected than women of African-descent and Hispanic women.
Medical Conditions can cause bone loss.
Certain medical conditions that increase bone breakdown, such as kidney disease, Cushing’s syndrome, and an overactive thyroid or parathyroid, can also lead to osteoporosis.
Glucocorticoids, also known as steroids, also increase bone loss. Anti-seizure drugs and prolonged immobility due to paralysis or illness can also cause bone loss.
Prevention of Bone loss
Eating the proper foods is essential for not only good nutrition but also for the prevention of many diseases including osteoporosis.
Our bodies need the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy.
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is important for strong bones as well as for the proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves.
The best way to get enough calcium and vitamin D is through a balanced diet.
A Diet High in Calcium https://www.emedicinehealth.com/
Not getting enough calcium during a lifetime significantly increases the risk of developing osteoporosis and is associated with low bone mass, rapid bone loss, and broken bones.
A diet high in calcium is important (see Osteoporosis and Calcium). Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream; dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, collard greens, and spinach; sardines and salmon with bones; tofu; almonds; and foods with added calcium, such as orange juice, cereals, soy products, and breads.
Calcium supplements and vitamins are also available.
A Diet High in Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for the body to absorb calcium from the diet. Without enough vitamin D, the body is unable to absorb calcium from the foods that are eaten, and the body has to take calcium from the bones, making them weaker. Vitamin D comes from two sources.
It is made in the skin through direct exposure to sunlight, and it comes from the diet.
Many people get enough vitamin D naturally. Vitamin D is also found in fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver.
However, vitamin D production decreases with age, in people who are housebound, with the use of sunscreens, and during the winter when sun exposure is decreased.
In these cases, people may need vitamin D supplements to ensure a daily intake of 400-800 IU of vitamin D.
Exercise and Osteoporosis Prevention
- Exercise is important to prevent osteoporosis. Although bones may seem like hard and lifeless structures, bones are living tissue that responds, like a muscle, to exercise by becoming stronger. Physical activity during childhood and adolescence increases bone density and strength. This means that children who get exercise are more likely to reach a higher peak bone density (maximum strength and solidness), which usually occurs by 30 years of age. People who reach higher peak bone densities are less likely to develop osteoporosis.
The best exercise to prevent osteoporosis is weight-bearing exercise that works against gravity.
Weight-bearing exercises include walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, jumping rope, and dancing.
The second type of exercise is resistance exercise. Resistance exercises include activities that use muscle strength to build muscle mass, and these also help to strengthen the bone.
These activities include weight liftings, such as using free weights and weight machines found at gyms and health clubs.
Exercise has additional benefits in older people as well because exercising increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance and leads to better overall health
Elderly people, people with osteoporosis, people with heart or lung disease, and people who have not exercised for most of adulthood should check with their health care professional before beginning any exercise program.
Bone density test is recommended for women over 65 and men over 70, Younger women and men ages 50 to 69 should consider the test if they have risk factors for serious bone loss. Risk factors include:
- Breaking a bone in a minor accident.
- Having rheumatoid arthritis.
- Having a parent who broke a hip.
- Drinking heavily.
- Having a low body weight.
- Using corticosteroid drugs for three months or more.
- Having disorders associated with osteoporosis.
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