When you were a child, your mom probably promoted drinking milk every night to promote good bone health. Now that you are an adult, ensuring your bones stay healthy is important because they protect your organs, store calcium, and provide your body structure. Learn more about bone health, its importance, and how to keep bones healthy through this guide.
Why Is Bone Health Important?
Your body makes new bone faster, and your bone mass increases when you were young. But as you age, you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain, despite continuous bone remodeling.
If you are past age 30, you likely reached your peak bone mass. This means you are more prone to developing bone problems, like osteoporosis, depending on the amount of bone mass you attain and the speed you lose it.
What Affects My Bones?
Several factors affect bone health. These include:
- Physical activity: You are at lesser risk of osteoporosis and other bone problems if you have an active lifestyle.
- Diet: The amount of calcium you consume plays a major role in your bone health. Having a diet rich in calcium boosts bone density, prevents early bone loss, and minimizes the risk of fractures.
- Size, age, and sex: Having a small body frame or being a woman or an elderly puts you at a higher risk of osteoporosis because you likely have less bone mass to draw from, and your bones get weaker as you age. Women also have less bone tissue than men.
- Tobacco and alcohol use: Regular smoking and drinking alcohol may contribute to weak bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Hormone levels: Excessive thyroid hormone, decreased estrogen levels in women during menopause, and low testosterone levels in men can cause a loss of bone mass and increase the risk of bone problems.
How Can I Keep My Bones Healthy?
Protecting your bone health as an adult is easier than you think. Here are some steps to do it:
- Consume plenty of calcium: The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day for adults ages 19-50 and men ages 51-70. In comparison, the recommendation increases to 1,200 milligrams a day for women aged 51 and older men aged age 71 and older. Some excellent sources of calcium are dairy products, almonds, canned salmon with bones, broccoli, kale, sardines, and soy products. Another option is to consult your doctor for calcium supplements.
- Incorporate vitamin D into your diet: Aside from calcium, vitamin D helps keep your bones healthy because it helps absorb calcium. The RDA is 600 international units (IUs) a day for adults ages 19-70, while the recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older.
You can consume vitamin D by eating salmon, tuna, trout, whitefish, mushrooms, eggs, milk, and cereals. A healthy amount of sunlight also helps the body’s production of vitamin D.
- Consult your doctor: Consult your physician if you are concerned about your bone health. They may recommend a bone density scan to determine the rate of bone loss or gauge bone density.
Bone mass is affected by your diet, physical activity, and other factors. Now that you know the importance of keeping your bones healthy and strong, prioritize following the suggestions listed above. Consider consulting your general doctor to ensure your bone health.
Our primary care doctors at Garden State Medical Group offer a comprehensive bone health and vitality program for patients in North Bergen and Secaucus in New Jersey. We diagnose, manage, and prevent the effects of bone loss. Start a telemedicine call today!