People think of arthritis as an aging process and we will all have to deal with it at some stage in our lives. But we see many elderly people around us who do not complain of joint pain at all.
So it’s important to understand that age alone does not lead to joint problems. But there are many lifestyle activities that lead to weaker bone and joint problems. However, they are within our control. By avoiding these habits, you can reduce your rate of bone loss and lead a healthier life.
The habits below will definitely adversely affect your bone health.
People who are sedentary have a higher risk of bone loss. Contraction muscles make your bones stronger. Therefore, exercise is very important for bone health. Weight-bearing exercises like brisk walking improve your bone health.
Stay indoors all day
Vitamin D is important for maintaining bone strength. Without vitamin D, our bones can become thin and brittle. One of the main sources of vitamin D is your body after you’re exposed to sunlight, so if you don’t spend enough time outdoors, you can become deficient in this nutrient. If you can’t go outdoors for your daily vitamin D supplement, try to eat food sources like salmon, egg yolks, and foods fortified with vitamin D.
Smoking produces a type of atom called a free radical in your body tissues. These substances are not only bad for your lungs, but also bad for your bones. Tobacco users have lower bone density. Free radicals kill the cells that form your bones. Smoking also promotes the production of the stress hormone cortisol and the production of the hormone calcitonin. Cortisol is known to decrease our bone stock and calcitonin on the other hand maintains it. Furthermore, if you’ve already broken a bone, smoking slows down the healing process by damaging your blood vessels, limiting your body’s ability to move oxygen and nutrients to the fracture site to heal.
Drinking too much alcohol
Too much alcohol increases the production of cortisol in the body, leading to loss of bone stores. Alcohol also lowers the levels of testosterone and estrogen in your body. These hormones are also important for bone health.
Eating too many salty foods
There is absolutely a correlation between eating more salt and lower bone density. As your sodium intake increases, your body will excrete more calcium in your urine. In fact, adult women can lose 1% of their bone density each year if they eat just one extra gram of sodium per day. So it is recommended to eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, while most adults should eat no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health. But many adults don’t eat enough calcium-rich diets. To make sure you’re getting enough of both nutrients, talk to your doctor about starting a calcium and vitamin D supplement.
Bone health is often overlooked and leads to consequences as we age. So, now is the right time to avoid habits that hinder bone health and choose a healthier lifestyle.
This article was written by Dr Rajeev Verma – HOD and Consultant – Joint Replacement and Orthopedics, HCMCT General Hospital, Dwarka New Delhi.