Bullet proof your body

Bone mineralization depends on physical activity during our teens and early 20s. If we fail to achieve peak levels it can put us at risk of dying prematurely.

 

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Find out what you can do to improve your bone health.

Increased bone mineral density protects against fractures during trauma such as falling over. As we age we become more susceptible to falls and the rate of hip fractures dramatically increases.

You may be asking at this point ‘how is this relevant to me’?

There is a huge association between hip fractures and death as we get older. Studies show that between 14-58% of people who sustain a hip fracture up dying within the year.  Therefore, what we do in our early life can strengthen our bones, protect against fractures and even prevent us dying prematurely.

Through puberty the amount of bone in the skeleton known as bone mass increases. By your early 20s bones have reached their maximum strength and density known as ‘peak bone mass’.

  1. So is it all down hill from there doctor?
  2. In short, no not at all!

Ensuring a good healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis in the future. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) does not advocate taking supplementary calcium if your diet meets your daily calcium requirements as this can actually be harmful (you can track your dietrary micronutrients using apps such as Myfitnesspal) . An adequate dietary level of vitamin D is often difficult to achieve and the NHS therefore recommends taking 10mcg of supplemental vitamin D.

Other important changes such as avoiding smoking and reducing alcohol consumption also reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

  1. What about exercise, I hear you say?
  2. Strength work is important for providing the musculoskeletal system with a stimulus to maintain bone strength. The NHS guidelines recommend ensuring that healthy people aged 19-64 years participate in at least 2 strength classes a week alongside 150 minutes of moderate exercise.

 

Published by Dr Chris George

NHS doctor working in General Practice.

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