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Preventing Osteoporosis

November 10, 2019 by

Osteoporosis is present in about 10% of the population worldwide between the ages of 60 and 70, and 20% of those aged 70 to 80. Further, 4 in 10 women suffer from osteoporosis by the age of 80, and two-thirds of women suffer from this by the time they’re 90. However, in Europe, these rates remain around 6-7% of people.

About 34 million Americans also have osteopenia, which means low bone density. This also increases one’s risks of getting bone fractures and could even progress to osteoporosis. The bisphosphonate drugs that have been prescribed for osteoporosis can actually weaken the bones and lead to small cracks that increase your risk for having bone fractures.

Some important nutrients to keep in your diet to keep your bones healthy include vitamin D, boron, vitamins K1 and K2, magnesium, calcium, collagen, and strontium. Additionally, while many believe that performing load-bearing exercises can promote bone growth and density, it is not as effective as once believed. Rather, research that blood flow restriction training may be a helpful alternative that has a beneficial effect on bone health and is a reasonable exercise for seniors to perform who are unable to do heavy weight lifting.

When one suffers from osteoporosis, they have brittle bones, which increases the risk for bone fractures if a fall occurs. It also increases the risk of hip fractures and could increase one’s risk for death. About 34 million Americans also have osteopenia (low bone density) which increases their risk of getting bone fractures.

Bone fractures compromise people’s quality of life and take a huge toll on the healthcare system. About 2 million fragility fractures happen each year, and this number is projected to continue to increase. In 2005, the direct medical costs associated with bone fractures due to fragility added up to $19 billion, with direct and indirect costs of care currently projected to exceed $25 billion by 2025.

There are risk factors for bone fractures that are both non modifiable and modifiable.
The risks that you cannot change include your age, ethnicity, sex, family history, and menopause. Some risks that you can mitigate include your diet, vitamin D deficiency, and lifestyle decisions such as smoking, exercising, and drinking excessive alcohol. Finally, medical factors can impact your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Some of these medical factors that increase your risk of osteoporosis include hyperparathyroidism, inability to absorb nutrients, anorexia, hyperthyroidism, renal failure, early menopause, and chronic conditions that occur as a result of calcium or vitamin D deficiencies.

Some common drugs can also increase bone loss such as glucocorticoids or long term steroid use, chemotherapy, valproic acid, and anti-epileptic medication. Some conventional medicines that are used to help prevent osteoporosis also increase one’s risk of thighbone fractures, which is counterintuitive. Drugs like these should be avoided because they don’t fix the underlying problem of osteoporosis. They can make your bones thicker, but when it comes to the mechanics of your bones, they make them weaker and more prone to fractures.

You can increase the health of your bones through nutrition, as bone is living tissue that is always generating new bone cells and removing old ones. People usually reach their peak bone mass around the age of 30, which is then followed by higher levels of resorption of bone than forming new bone.

Your diet is an important part of keeping your bones healthy so you can ensure you are getting the proper amount of vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, and the other vitamins and minerals that are critical to bone health. Raw, grass fed foods such as yogurt are a perfect source of calcium that can help reduce bone loss. Additionally, magnesium works alongside calcium, and vitamins D and K help with calcium absorption. A deficiency in these vitamins can lead to weakening bones.

Weight training is not enough to maintain healthy bones because the amount of weight that people use is far less than what is needed to impact bone health. For example, for a 150 pound person, they would have to lift over 600 pounds to impact their bones. This is not likely to occur, which reduces their chances of benefiting from lifting weights.

Another thing that may benefit bone health is blood flow restriction. This is a good option for those who are seniors and unable to lift heavy weights. This is a new type of training that lets people do strength training using only 20-30% of the weight they would otherwise be lifting with regular weights.

This method involves restricting the blood flow return to your heart. To do this, you must use a cuff to mildly restrict the blood flow on the extremity that you’re working on. By keeping blood inside of your extremity while challenging the muscles, you’re creating a metabolic change that can greatly improve your strength with very little risk of injury.

Doing blood restriction training may also have an impact on bone metabolism. This workout gives users a new way to create adaptation in their muscles and bones, which was once thought to only occur with high intensity exercise.

There are several things you can do to prevent or slow down the progression of osteoporosis, so engaging in these practices will be beneficial to your bones.

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