National Bone and Joint Day 2022: Signs of bone density loss in women

Bone health problems can hamper your lifestyle, and it's important for you to recognize them in early stages. Here are some tips.
Tips for bone health
Follow tips to maintain your bone health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr. Lalit Kumar Lohia Published: 3 Aug 2022, 10:53 am IST
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Providing structure, safeguarding organs, retaining muscles, and storing calcium are just a few of the many functions that our bones perform for the body. Building strong bones and maintaining bone health are very important. Maintaining healthy bones is essential, especially for women after the age of 30, as they start losing bone density. It is an unfortunate but unavoidable fact that women’s bones bear a greater burden as compared to men.

In India, almost 46 million women suffer from osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. After the age of 50 years, 1 out of 2 women are most likely to have an osteoporosis-related problem during their lives. The risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia is higher in women because female bones are slightly more compact and less thick than male bones. The problem of osteoporosis can be commonly seen in women after menopause because the levels of hormone secretion reduce, which helps in supporting bones.

Bone health pain
Don’t ignore pain in your bones. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Understanding the warning signs of bone density problems to manage bone health

Commonly known as the silent disease, bone density problems show no significant symptoms and are very difficult to notice in the initial stages. Nonetheless, one should not ignore the following signs:

1. Frequent bone fractures:

Bone cracks and fractures are, in many cases, the earliest signs that people who suffer from osteoporosis are due to the low density of bones, there is a chance that one may face serious bone injuries after a fall, usually in the wrist, hip or back.

2. Lower back pain:

Experiencing frequent back pain can be one of the basic symptoms because the bones of the spine are weakened and fail to handle normal pressure. This is very common in women, especially after the age of 30, age starts taking a toll on the overall bone health.

3. Change in posture:

Women’s posture often changes as a result of weak bones because the
spine (vertebrae) can weaken to the point where it crumbles and collapses, resulting in a hunched posture.

Be careful about falls and fractures. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Teeth loss or bleeding gums:

Low bone density can be the main reason for losing teeth or suffering from bleeding gums. It can be due to lack of calcium, which directly results in the weakening of the jawbone. Women with osteoporosis tend to have fewer teeth than women with normal bone density.

Factors that can lead to bone density problems

Although there is no fixed cause of low bone density in women, it has been seen that lifestyle plays a major role in contributing to bone health. Here are a few factors which can lead to low bone density:

* Due to long working hours, one might not be able to do the amount of physical activity required. One might suffer from constant cramps and pain in the legs because of stiffness in the bones.
* Obesity is also one of the leading causes of weaker bones, as excess weight puts a lot of pressure on the bones and joints.
* Smoking continuously can also deteriorate bone health. Smoking produces free radicals in the body, which are not only harmful to bones but also harm the lungs and other major organs.
* Alcohol consumption also reduces the secretion of hormones necessary for bone health.
* Excess sodium intake is also risky to the bones as it increases the release of calcium in the urine.

Tips to maintain bone health and prevent loss of bone density

Add proper nutrition to your diet:

Bone density problems can be prevented by having a balanced, nutritious diet. It is recommended to add fruits and liquids that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, protein, potassium, and magnesium to strengthen the bones.

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Engage in regular exercise:

Physical activity for bone health is necessary because it helps in the process of bone and muscle strengthening. Exercise may not increase bone mass in older adults, but it does aid in the development of muscle mass and balance. One should not overburden the bones to avoid any major injury. Know how much exercise is too much.

Exercise for bone health
Exercise is non-negotiable for overall health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Right posture to help prevent bone injury:

People with bone problems should check their posture while sitting and standing. Immediate and sudden actions may cause the bone to
crack. Avoiding heavyweights can reduce the chance of falling or having a bone fracture.

Adding supplements to your diet:

One might not get the required number of vitamins, so taking supplements can be helpful. It will aid in the reduction of vitamin and calcium deficiency.

The last word

With age, bone health is most likely to be affected, especially after pregnancy. However, it is advised to keep a check on the underlying symptoms related to bone problems. One must also get into the habit of routine check-ups. Based on the age, weight, and height, the doctor may recommend the right medication and treatment options to keep the bones healthy.

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About the Author

Dr. Lalit Kumar Lohia, Consultant- Orthopedics, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka ...Read More

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