Maintaining Healthy Bones and Joints
Bones and joints are essential for the entire support system of our body. Keeping an eye on your bone health is important. They not only support your system but also provide a proper structure, anchors the muscles, stores calcium, and also protects the organs. However, they are widely neglected when it comes to healthcare.
Yes, the bones need to be looked after from childhood itself. If proper care is taken during childhood and adolescence, it can lead to several bone and joint issues in the adult age like joint pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.
Still, thinking why are the bones and joints essential for you? Let’s have a brief explanation of the same.
Did you know! The bones keep on changing continuously! Surprisingly, this is a fact. At a regular time period, the old bones get damaged and break down and a new bone is formed. At a young age, the bones develop faster compared to the old age. At this time, the mass of the bone also increases. There are various people who are at the peak of the bone mass at the age of 30. After 30, the bone restoration process continues, but in this process, you might lose some bone mass. When the bone and joint health is good, it reduces the chances of developing any health issues like arthritis, osteoporosis, joint pain, etc.
Thus, the best way of caring about your joints is to keep the bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles in a strong, healthy, and stable condition.
Some Surprising Facts About Bones and Joints
- Babies have more bones compared to adults. Where the adults have around 206 bones in their bodies, the infants have around 300 components that are a mixture of cartilage and bones.
- The human body has bones in different sizes and shapes which are not distributed evenly in the body. The feet and hand contain nearly half of the total bones in the body.
- The density levels in the bones can be gained naturally until the age of 30. After that, the density declines unless you practice proper exercises, Vitamin D and Calcium.
- There are some people who have an additional rib in their bodies which can lead to serious health issues.
- The Femur or say the thigh bone is the longest bone in the body.
- The skeletons of both men and women are much similar, however, the size, angle, and shape of the pelvis in women are different or geared particularly for childbirth.
- The collagen mentioned in the bones constantly keeps on refilling itself, and hence, you have a new skeleton after nearly every 7 years.
- When the bone is broken, the damaged surface knits itself together for forming a new bone which is sometimes stronger than the original one.
What are the Different Things That Affect the Health of the Bones?
Before working on the different things that help in maintaining bone health, lets first work on the factors that affect the health of the bones and joints.
1. Calcium Levels Impact Bone Health
The regular calcium level in the diet is essential for the health of the bones. When the diet contains low calcium content, it leads to a reduction in bone density, increases the risk of having fractures, and early loss of bone too.
2. Physical Activities
The people who are lazy and inactive physically have high chances of developing osteoporosis compared to the people who are active physically through regular exercises, walks, etc. Sedentary lifestyle leads to less movements of body and bones. It leads to various problems like obesity and bone health issues, etc. On the contrary, people who lead an active life and perform regular exercise are less prone to excess weight gain and bone related problems.
4. Gender Matters Too!
Surprisingly, gender also matters when you are counting on the health of the bones and joints. Women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis compared to men. The reason behind this is because women have fewer bone tissues.
5. Say ‘No’ to Alcohol and Tobacco for Healthy Bones
The people who intake tobacco are more likely to have weak bones. Again, having alcohol would also have an impact on the bones, its density levels, and health. Having more than 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks increases the risk of developing osteoporosis for both men and women.
6. Age and Size Impacts Bones Strength
The age is also one of the factors that affect the health of the bones. As you become old, the bones become weak and thin. Similarly, the size of the body is also liable for the health of the bones. For the people who are too thin and have a body frame that is too small, are likely to have reduced bone mass.
7. Family History Also Counts
Yes, if your family members are suffering from weak bones, muscles, or any other joint issues, you are likely to develop the same, particularly in the case of osteoporosis. Similarly, if you belong to the Asian descent or are white Osteoporosis is also something you might suffer from.
8. Diet and other Conditions
Are you suffering from bulimia or anorexia? If yes, you are at a higher risk of suffering from the loss of bone. Again, if you have gone through any situations like gastrectomy, stomach surgeries, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, weight-loss surgeries, Cushing’s disease, etc. you are likely to suffer from the deficiency of calcium. Your bone health may get severely impacted due to these illnesses.
9. Hormone levels
Women can suffer from the loss of bone while facing situations like menopause, absence of menses, etc. due to the reduction in the levels of Estrogens. Such women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Men having reduced testosterone levels are also likely to suffer from the reduced bone mass. Having high levels of thyroid hormones can also result in bone loss.
Yes, there are particular medications that come with an impact on the bones and the joints. Some corticosteroid medicines which include cortisone, prednisone, dexamethasone, prednisolone, etc. can damage the bones. In the same way, medications for the treatment of particular cancers like aromatase inhibitors, methotrexate, some serotine reuptake, and particular anti-seizure medicines like phenobarbital, Dilantin, proton pump, etc. are also liable to suffer from osteoporosis.
Hence, these are some of the commonly found factors that have a mild to deep impact on the bones, joints, muscles, and calcium levels in the body.
How Can You Keep the Bones and Joints Healthy?
Worried about your bones and joints? Here are some of the effective ways of looking after the health of your bones to keep them healthy.
1. Be selective with your diet
Just as the diet is essential for various health issues, it is also helpful for the health of the bones and joints. There are various fruits and vegetables that are helpful in the protection of the joints and reduces its pain. Having inflammatory food items like dairy products, sugar, meat, and saturated fats can increase joint pain. So, look for anti-inflammatory vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains that help in working on the pain in the joints. Boost your calcium levels through your diet like yellow and green veggies, which keep the bones strong and reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis. Indeed, healthy diet is must to follow if you want a good bone health.
2. Look for Vitamin D
Vitamin D is much helpful for absorbing the calcium in your body. For this, increase the intake of resources like oily fish which includes trout, salmon fish, tuna, and whitefish for getting the required amount of Vitamin D. Other resources for getting the required amount of Vitamin D includes eggs, mushrooms, cereals, milk, etc. Apart from these ingredients, the sunlight is also the best way to increase the Vitamin D levels in the body for the absorption of calcium. In case you are suffering from its deficiency, you can look for supplements for Vitamin D after consulting with your doctor.
3. Protein – It is helpful too
Just as Vitamin D and calcium are essential for the health of your joints and bones, protein is also helpful. Surprisingly, the bones contain 50% protein in them. Having low protein levels affects the absorption of calcium levels in the body which also disturbs the formation of the bones and its breakdown. On the other hand, having too many proteins in the body can percolate the calcium from the bones and also increase the acid levels in the blood. So, look for protein sources like seafood, lean meat, legumes, beans, nuts, and soy products.
4. Keep a watch on your weight
Just as the weight is the root of several health issues like diabetes, blood pressure, etc. it also comes with an impact on the health of the bones and joints. The people suffering from obesity or overweight are likely to have weak bones and joints which results in pain in the joints like back pain, knee pain, hip pain, etc. Every pound of your weight pressurizes the bone or joints which weakens them leading to minor or even severe bone or joint issues. Such people are also likely to suffer from fractures.
5. Don’t miss exercises
Yes, exercises are also helpful in keeping the bones, muscles, and joints strong. Rather than seating in a single position for long hours, one should keep on moving or have some physical exercises in their routine. This circulates the synovial fluid that boosts the smooth movements of the bones. Again, exercising is a biological process which is known as autophagy that helps in removing the damaged cells inside the joints. So, look for walks, swimming, exercises, and even yoga which would increase both flexibility and strength of the joints, muscles, and bones.
6. Boost the strength of your muscles
Muscles help the joints in carrying the weight of the body. Hence, if the muscles are weak, they would fail in supporting the body for carrying your weight which would hinder your routine activities. So, look for simple exercises that boost the strength of your muscles rather than walking into a gym. Focus on exercises and yoga postures that would help in making the muscles of the knee and hip joints strong and support the entire weight of the body. Building strong muscles would also reduce knee and hip pain and keep you balanced.
7. Keep yourself hydrated
Yes, along with other ways of keeping the bones and joints healthy, drinking enough water is also essential. Cartilage is much helpful in lubricating the bones and joints through synovial fluid which is around 60% water. Hence, when your body lacks required water levels, it also damages the joints and bones. Lack of required water levels would disturb the production of synovial fluid levels of the body and increase the friction leading to pain in joints as well as cartilage deterioration. Again, drinking required water would improve the health of the bones and joints as well as help in avoiding conditions like osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid.
8. Look for healthy postures
Yes, the posture you sit or work in also helps to make the bones and joints strong. Slumping is a posture that would pressurize the joints and result in neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, etc. This limits your working range and it becomes difficult for the muscles to reduce the load from the joints. An unhealthy posture would also result in misalignment of the spinal cord which can worsen the pain and stress levels of the joint. So, keep a watch on your posture and try to sit straight. Avoid hunching and slouching as this may damage the joints and bones.
Apart from all these, the stress levels are also liable for damaging the bones and joints. The inflammatory levels of the body worsen when we are suffering from stress which results in swelling of the joints. This also reduces collagen production which is essential for the health of the joints.
Hence, making small changes in the lifestyle and adding required nutrients in your diet can help in keeping the bones and joints strong and healthy. You can also talk with your doctor for a proper diet, exercise and supplement routine.
So, are you also suffering from minor issues regarding your bones and joints? It is never too late to start looking after it. Take your initiative today itself.