Tips for Keeping Your Bones Strong – Guidance from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
Over your lifetime, your bones “remodel,” or continually change as old bone is broken down and new bone is created. During your younger years, your body manufactures new bone at a faster rate than the old bone breaks down, so your overall bone mass increases. Peak bone mass generally occurs around the age 30, and while the bone remodeling process continues, each year slightly more bone mass is lost than gained. Research studies have shown that the level of bone mass you achieve at your peak, and how rapidly you lose it thereafter, are key factors that can determine whether you develop osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become brittle and weak, at an early age.
Bone health is important because your bones play several vital roles for your body, including storing calcium, providing structure, anchoring your muscles, and protecting your organs. While some risk factors for osteoporosis, such as genetics, race, gender, age, and certain medications, are out of your control, there are certain steps you can take at any age to help keep your bones strong:
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D – A diet that is low in calcium and vitamin D can contribute to reduced bone density, early bone loss, and increased fracture risk. Aim for 1,200 mg of calcium, and 1,000 IU of vitamin D, each day.
- Exercise – People who are sedentary and inactive tend to develop osteoporosis at an earlier age than their more active counterparts.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco – Alcohol is believed to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, and research suggests that smoking can contribute to weak bones.
- Eat meat and fish in moderation – Calcium helps the body digest animal protein, and eating too much red meat, fish, pork, and poultry can deplete this important resource from your bones.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Being extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Have your bone mineral density (BMD) tested – Osteoporosis often doesn’t display obvious symptoms until a bone breaks. A BMD test can tell you how strong your bones are, and your doctor can use this information in conjunction with your other lifestyle factors to determine your risk of fracture.
Contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic any time you would like to consult with a physician about your bone health or any other topic. For more information about family health and wellness, you may also find our online series of health articles helpful.