Bone health for the elderly

28Jan

Maintaining Healthy Bones

As we age, particularly as we enter our 40s, the structure of our bones change, and they gradually lose density.  This low density means our bones can become weaker which places people, especially the elderly, at risk of breaks from bumps or falls.  Bones become less dense as we age because of the following:

  • Not living an active lifestyle
  • Lack of calcium and other minerals in your diet
  • Hormonal changes – menopause in women triggers loss of minerals in bone tissue
  • Osteoporosis – bones losing mass and become brittle

What can you do to maintain your bones?

Physical Activity

Exercise can help maintain healthy and strong bones.  It’s never too late to start an active lifestyle that helps to reduce the ageing effect on our bones.  Bones become stronger when we use them and help slow the rate of bone loss.  Older people can increase muscle mass through muscle strengthening activities like weight-bearing exercises or stretching to maintain joint flexibility.

Maintain Calcium Intake

As kids, we remember the importance of drinking plenty of milk and eating dairy foods to ensure strong bone development.  As we age, the calcium we receive from these foods are equally important in our adult life to maintain bone strength.  To maintain bone strength and help reduce bone tissue loss, foods including milk, yoghurt and cheese contain calcium which helps maintain our bones.  Foods such as green leafy vegetables and tofu also contain calcium.

Get Some Sunshine

We’re not talking about spending hours in the sun at any one time.  Overexposure to sunlight can damage our skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.  However, we do know that small doses of sun exposure, say just a few minutes each day, helps the body make vitamin D, and your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium.

A Balanced Diet

It’s important to maintain a balanced diet.  Ensure meals contain a healthy selection of foods that contain calcium and other minerals (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds), fresh fruit and vegetables, and carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potatoes and rice), that promote bone health.

Quite or Reduce Smoking

We know that if you smoke, we are more likely to get osteoporosis. Cutting down, or better still, quitting smoking altogether, will better your chances of maintaining good bone health.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcohol is good in moderation, however we know that excessive alcohol intake, as well as tea, coffee, and soft drinks can reduce the amount of calcium that can be absorbed, which can weaken bones. A sensible approach would be to stick to the recommended amounts of alcohol and swap caffeine-fuelled drinks for water.

A Healthy Weight

Being underweight can affect the amount of oestrogen (a hormone that helps to protect your bones) in the body. When losing weight, it’s suggested to do it sensibly.

Need Further Help?

Chemistworks is committed to the ongoing good health and wellbeing of its customers.  If you would like advice about managing bone health, come and talk to one our friendly staff at a store near you.