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Did you know that a massive total of 206 small and big bones come together to create the foundation of our body? Bones play many roles in the body providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium.
While it's important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can still take steps during adulthood to ensure health bones. Scroll down to find out how to promote and protect your bone health.
Bone Related Ailments
A number of bone related diseases are triggered by nutrient deficiencies or lifestyle factors. These would primarily include metabolic bone diseases i.e. a broad spectrum of bone related disorders that take place due to the imbalance of essential minerals and nutrients including calcium, Vitamin D, phosphorous, phosphate and magnesium. These are differentiated from other kinds of bone diseases that are triggered primarily due to hereditary or genetic factors.
Osteomalacia is essentially a bone-building defect that leads to the softening of bones making them prone to breakage, fractures and deformities. It primarily affects the bones in your hips, ribs, back, pelvis and legs. When the condition surfaces in children, it is known as Rickets. Rickets is one of the most common diseases among children in the world, especially in developing countries and can be confirmed by the help of bone biopsy, X-ray and blood tests.
Causes of Osteomalacia
1. Lack of Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorous
2. Certain diseases (like Celiac disease)
3. Kidney and liver related issues that may hinder the body's ability to process and absorb vitamin D and calcium
Symptoms of Osteomalacia
1. In adults, bone pain and weakness are the initial symptoms. You may feel sharper pain during night time, especially when pressure is applied to the affected areas.
2. The condition makes it difficult to lift weights and may also hinder daily activities.
3. In case of children (rickets), the symptoms are quite prominent and translate into bone and dental deformities, muscle weakness and bone tenderness.
If the pain and weakness persist, one should consider referring to a medical professional and get an X-ray done which would pave way for further diagnosis.
Treatment of Osteomalacia
Vitamin-D, calcium and phosphorous supplementation; treating any other kidney or liver related ailment that may hinder or obstruct Vitamin-D and calcium absorption in body.
Both Osteomalacia and rickets can be prevented by ensuring adequate intake of phosphorous, Vitamin D and calcium on a regular basis. Exposure to sunlight is also preferable.
Osteopenia is a condition wherein your bone mineral density (protein and mineral content in bones) falls lower than the normal limit. According to experts, an average human's bone mineral density starts depleting after 30 years, the better your bone density at this stage, the better for you to rule out risks of developing osteoporosis later in life. Bone mineral density depletion is a natural process which happens as a result of ageing.
Causes of Osteopenia
1. Result of sedentary lifestyle
2. Triggered due to estrogen loss in women, and is most common in post-menopausal women
3. Lack of regular exercise
4. Alcohol and tobacco consumption
Symptoms of Osteopenia
Osteopenia doesn't come with any differentiating symptoms, and is in fact considered a precursor of Osteoporosis. If you feel weak in the bones and find it difficult to carry day to day activities, consider getting a bone density test done which will make it easier to diagnose.
Treatment of Osteopenia
Osteopenia can be reversed with proper medication and regular exercise.
Prevention of Osteopenia
Regular intake of Vitamin D and calcium and exercising can help ward off Osteopenia and keep bones strong.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, Osteoporosis literally means 'porous bone', and is a disease in which the density and quality of the bones are reduced. As bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture is greatly increased. The loss of bone occurs silently and progressively. Often there are no symptoms until the first fracture occurs.
Causes of Osteoporosis
1. Osteoporosis is linked to a set of factors that include depletion in bone mass and density due to ageing, family history of osteoporosis, genetic inheritance, previous injuries and arthritis.
2. Women often fall prey to the deficiency of vitamin D and calcium, which makes them more susceptible to the condition - especially those who have hit menopause.
3. Smoking, alcoholism, unhealthy (low) BMI, malnutrition, sedentary lifestyle and inadequate physical activity may aid in making bones weak over a period of time.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
1. Osteoporosis is the end stage of osteopenia, likewise, the condition doesn't come with any differentiating symptoms.
2. Osteoporosis makes the affected person more prone to skeletal fractures
Diagnosis of Osteoporosis
A conventional radiology, bone density test, dual energy x-ray and a few blood tests can be recommended in order to diagnose the condition.
Treatment of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis cannot be reversed but is certainly treatable.
1. Embrace a healthier lifestyle, regular exercise (including weight-bearing exercises) and eat right
2. Medication will help strengthen bones and prevent them from getting weaker. Elderly patients need to be extra cautious of falling in order to prevent any further fractures. Severe fractures can lead to injuries that can only be treated with the help of surgery.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can be prevented by exercising regularly and maintaining a balanced diet. Walking daily for at least half an hour is essential. Include adequate amount of calcium and Vitamin D as well as iron, protein and other essential nutrients in your regular diet. Maintain a healthy weight and avoid frequent weight fluctuation, sudden weight loss, unhealthy BMI or under/malnutrition.
Arthritis is an umbrella term which encompasses close to 200 different types of rheumatic conditions. Rheumatism is basically a condition wherein a person experiences pain, inflammation, stiffness and swelling in joints, ligaments, tendons, cartilage or muscles. This would include any or multiple joints in the body starting from your fingers, elbows, wrist, to knees, ankles, hip joints and so on. It can occur to anyone - from a child to an elderly person, although it is most common in people above 65 years. Arthritis can have many forms; some of the most common ones would include rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, septic arthritis, osteoarthritis and so on.
Causes of Arthritis
1. Some types of arthritis occur due to wear and tear of cartilage
2. Some types are triggered due to autoimmune disorders (wherein the body's own immune system starts attacking itself).
3. Injuries, genetic factors, bacterial and viral infections as well as diseases like lupus, psoriasis and gout
4. Age, family history, previous joint-related injury and obesity can also prompt the condition.
Symptoms of Arthritis
5. Stiffness in joints coupled with pain, swelling, inflammation and inability to carry day to day activities are some of the early symptoms.
6. If the condition escalates to an advanced stage, symptoms may include lack of flexibility, weakness in muscles, poor sleep, and inability to walk or execute daily activities.
Treatment of Arthritis
1. Some forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cannot be reversed but can be made better to improve the quality of living.
2. A combination of physical therapy, proper medication and regular exercise has reported positive results.
3. Joint replacement surgery, electric nerve stimulation and orthotics (orthopedic bracing) are other ways to treat forms of arthritis.
4. Lifestyle changes such as combatting obesity and maintaining healthy weight can also help manage the condition better.
5. Alternative forms of therapies and activities like regular massages, acupuncture and yoga may also prove beneficial
Prevention of Arthritis
In most cases arthritis cannot be prevented. However, if one has healthy bones and joints one can ensure maintaining their optimum health. Regular exercise and flexibility-enhancing activities should be a regular part of your lifestyle. Maintain a healthy weight; avoid injuries as well as smoking and alcohol.
Bone Health & Strength: How to maintain healthy bones?
Experts and health professionals have long been emphasizing the importance of some of the most basic nutrients and minerals such as Vitamin D and calcium which serve as the core of our bone health, growth, development, strength and repair. Ensure regular intake of calcium, Vitamin D, phosphorous and other essential nutrients in your diet and exercise regularly and avoid sedentary lifestyle, smoking, tobacco consumption and alcoholism.
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