Take Control Of Osteoporosis12/05/2022, Tom Walker, Chief Operating Officer & Senior Health Manager at Viavi Health Strategy
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, there is an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds which can leave people with chronic pain, reduced mobility and loss of independence.
You are more susceptible to osteoporosis when you are older, as bone is broken down at a faster rate than it's built in the body, women are particularly susceptible following menopause. In women aged 45, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than diabetes, heart attacks and breast cancer.
We are also expected to see an increase in osteoporosis following Covid-19, as individuals are spending less time outside with sun exposure for vitamin D and there is less activity.
There are many ways in which osteoporosis can be investigated, including blood tests, DNA, body composition and DEXA bone mineral density scans. Although some people may be genetically predisposed to osteopenia, the good news is that all the risk factors can be managed via lifestyle.
Below are the areas you should focus on to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium is a mineral which is responsible for making teeth and bones strong, 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bone and teeth.
The best sources of calcium are dark leafy greens, salmon, sardines, or dairy (if diary can be tolerated). Remember to steam your vegetables as boiling can remove most of the mineral content.
Vitamin D has many great benefits, including assisting with the absorption of calcium. Small amounts of vitamin D can be consumed via the diet, but our skin helps synthesise vitamin D from sunlight exposure. We would advise 10 minutes of direct sun exposure each day before applying sunscreen, but ensure you never burn your skin. Do be aware that increased melanin, which is the pigment that provides skin colour, reduces your ability to synthesize vitamin D from the sun.
Your Vitamin D level can be tested via a blood test and we advise an optimal level of 120nmol.
Supplements can be used to support your body’s low calcium and vitamin D, but we would recommend you test this, as high levels of vitamin D in your body can be toxic and high levels of calcium can lead to kidney stones, so it is important to supplement with guidance.
Lower than optimal body weight, lean muscle and body fat have been associated with low bone mineral density. It is important to ensure you have a normal BMI of 18.25 – 24.9 and a body fat % of 18 % - 28% for females and 12 % - 18% for males. If you are over 40 years old, a normal range for muscle mass is 70% when testing your body composition.
Smoking & Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and alcohol slow down the cells in the body which make bone called osteoblasts.
Smoking affects the body's ability to absorb calcium, and nicotine slows the production of bone-forming cells which are also crucial to healing.
Weight-bearing with impact and resistance exercises are the most effective type of exercise to help strengthen the bones.
Weight-bearing exercise includes jumping, running or playing sports while resistance exercise includes weights, exercise machines or resistance bands. We would advise 3x 20-minute exercise sessions a week.
Studies now indicate long term levels of the stress hormone cortisol can lead to osteoporosis. We often recommend daily practices to encourage daytime recovery or a medical retreat to allow calm to be restored in the body and normal cortisol.
If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.
|About The Author|
Tom is the Chief Operating Officer and a Senior Health Manager at Viavi Health Strategy, based on Harley Street, London.