Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Our body is indeed the biggest and the most complex marvel of nature and bones are the very base of human structure. Bones are the unsung hero and anything related with bone health takes a back seat until the problem becomes really serious.
Most of us tend to take our bones for granted and do not pay the right amount of attention needed. Bones play such an essential role in our survival. Apart from providing a frame to the body, they also protect the vital organs (heart, brain) from injury and acts as a protective wall.
Bone is a living and growing tissue made up of:
- Collagen: It is a protein that provides a soft framework
- Calcium: It is a mineral that gives strength and hardness
Importance of bone health
A continuous process of formation of new bones and break down of the old bones goes on in our body. When we are young, our body makes new bones much faster than the breakdown of the old bones, hence increasing the bone mass. At the age of 30, most of us reach our peak bone mass and we start losing more bone than remodeled.
The most common bone problem that affects a majority of population worldwide is osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle due to various factors. It mostly depends on the how much bone mass we attain by the time we turn 30 and how rapidly we lose it.
Factors affecting the bone health
Some factors that can affect the bone health are:
- The amount of calcium in the diet
- Physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyle is one of the major cause of osteoporosis
- Tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Females are at a higher risk of suffering from osteoporosis then compared to men
- Bones become thinner and weak with age
- Hormone levels
- Suffering from eating disorder and other conditions
Our body requires calcium but does not produces any. Bones act as a reservoir for maintaining the calcium levels in the blood. If the body doesn’t get the required amount of calcium, it takes the calcium from our bones, making them weak and leading to adverse health outcomes like osteoporosis and osteopenia.
The recommended daily intake of calcium for men and women are:
|50 years and younger||1000mg|
|51 years and older||1200 mg|
|70 years and younger||1000mg|
|71 years and older||1200 mg|
Vitamin D is essential as it protects the bones by helping the body absorb calcium and also supports the muscles. Vitamin D deficiency can make the bones weak, making them prone to fracture easily.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D:
|Age||Women and Men|
|50 years and younger||400-800 International units (IU)|
|51 years and older||800-1000International units (IU)|
Keeping track of Calcium and Vitamin D levels
Calcium and Vitamin D work together in the body and protect our bones. Keeping a record of these two essential micronutrients is essential. It is done by getting a bone strength test, that includes
- Calcium total, serum test: This helps in measuring the total amount of calcium present in the blood.
- Vitamin D total -25 hydroxy test: This test is the best way to monitor Vitamin D levels in the body. It can be a valuable pointer for osteoporosis and rickets.
Calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients for the body and their deficiencies can cause various problems at all ages. Getting them checked on a regular basis can help in keeping a lot of problems at bay and having a healthy life.
Ways to keep the bone healthy
Bone strength can also be termed as the body’s resistance towards fracture. Thus it is essential to keep our bones healthy as strong bones mean a stronger you. Adding few simple steps in our daily routine can help in keeping the bones healthy and strong:
- Include plenty of calcium in the diet
- Focusing on vitamin D intake
- Regular exercising will help in keeping the bones healthy and slowing down the process of bone loss
- Avoid any substance abuse
- Don’t forget to have milk and milk based products in your daily diet
A healthy you starts with small and important precautions. So, make a healthy start today as it is always better to stay safe than sorry.