Reduction in bone mass is one of the prime reasons for osteoporosis and experts state that not only women but also a lot of men above 45 years of age are complaining of this problem. Loss of bone mass and loss of calcium is one of the prime reasons for hip, knee and shoulder fractures. An estimated 36 million people are suffering from the disease and experts state that lack of physical exercise is one of the prime reasons. Exercises like jumping, running and walking help retain the bone mass.
Adequate bone mass is important
Both men and women attain peak bone mass between 25 and 30 years of age. After that there is a steady loss of 0.3% per year. Attaining adequate peak bone mass is critical, especially in women. This is dependent on nutrition during growing years, physical activity and heredity. Maintaining adequate calcium intake, physical activity, hormone replacement therapy in select cases with premature menopause are a few means to avoid bone loss.
In women, the bone loss increases to 3% per annum for 10 years after menopause. This is due to loss of estrogen hormones. Physical activity like running and jumping leads to improvement in bone density and is protective against osteoporosis.
Dr Kirshna Kiran Eachempati, hip and knee replacement surgeon at Maxcure Hospitals explains, “Physical activity like running, swimming and playing sports like tennis are protective and help to maintain bone density. When one is jumping, the load falls on the body and it is useful in developing bone mass. The load should fall on the hand, knees, joints so that they grow stronger.”
Supplements are helpful
Lack of vitamin D is one of the major reasons for the increasing problems of osteoporosis in the country. This is a well-recognised fact and needs to be taken care, with supplements. When this deficiency is properly addressed then food that is taken is not very important as most food items, including water, contain some calcium which gets absorbed in the intestine. Yet it is recommended to take a reasonable amount of dairy products like milk and curd as a part of balanced food. But it is a known fact that there is loss of bone density between the age of 35 to 60.
Dr N. Somasekhar Reddy, senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Apollo Hospitals explains, “This depends on the ‘original bone bank’ a person has. Say a person who has 2 kg bone mass at the age of 35, lost about 500 gm of bone mass by the age of 60, then the person still has 1.5 kg bone mass and may not be osteoporotic. However, if another person’s bone mass is 1 kg at the age of 35, and that person loses an equal amount of bone (500 gm) by the age of 65, that means this particular person is left with only 500 gm of bone mass and this is severe osteoporosis.”
Foods that help to increase the bone mass in the body are fish, paneer, tofu, soya, milk, curd, cheese and eggs.
Physical exercises which are load-bearing like running, walking, jumping and swimming are good for the bone mass of the body.
People who are suffering from arthritis, liver diseases and also those who sweat excessively tend to lose a lot of bone mass. This is termed as secondary malnutrition and as they are not able to take a normal diet due to the diseases, the absorption is limited.
Steroids also cause loss of bone mass but doctors state that they are important to treat serious medical condition. Hence, it is important to complete the course of additional supplements like vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis.