From the moment you’re born, your body is growing, but then later in adulthood, the opposite starts to happen…
The body begins breaking down.
Sadly, it’s the natural ebb and flow of life, but sometimes the body deteriorates a little too early, particularly the bones.
In fact, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop osteoporosis.
In this article, we go over what osteoporosis is, why it can happen as you age, and how to prevent this potentially serious disease.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Osteoporosis?
The prefix osteo means bone and poro means porous. (1)
To start, Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones by making them more porous (develops tiny holes throughout).
Not surprisingly, with an estimated 10 million people aged 50 years and older who develop osteoporosis, it’s a fairly common disease, affecting mostly women. (2)
Believe it or not, one in four men and one in two women over the age of 50 will develop the disease.
Yikes! Post-menopausal women are the highest-risk group of all — they’re four times more likely to develop the disease than men. (3)
Throughout life, your bones are always in a continual process of regenerating and being replaced with fresh, new cells.
Consequently, Osteoporosis develops if the replacement of new bone no longer makes up for the loss of the old bone. (4)
Weak, porous bones lead to a higher likelihood of falling and fracturing a bone from doing so.
Surprisingly, over two million fractures per year are caused by osteoporosis. (3)
How Serious is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a potentially serious condition that’s linked to lower life expectancy. (5)
For example, hip fractures can sometimes be fatal for the elderly, especially old men. (6)
Also, women have a higher risk of low bone density compared to men. (7)
Regardless, all fractures carry the risk of serious complications for elderly osteoporosis patients.
Aging and Osteoporosis
Most people reach peak bone mass somewhere in the middle of their adult life.
After that, bone mass decreases, and the risk of osteoporosis increases. (4)
Even if you’re young, it’s not too early to think about keeping your bones in tip-top shape!
Later on in this article, we’ll cover things you can do to increase bone density and greatly reduce the risk for osteoporosis later in life.
How Aging Can Cause Osteoporosis
Aging and osteoporosis are no joke.
On average, bone density decreases at a rate of 0.5% to 1% per year after mid-adulthood. (8)
That means the older you get, the higher your chances are of winning (or losing) the osteoporosis lottery!
Although in some ways you’re powerless against the process of aging, you do have the power to greatly reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
6 Ways to Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis Naturally
Although medication can be effective, most studies have limited sample sizes and may lead to long-term side effects. (9)
Fortunately, there are plenty of scientifically-backed natural remedies to try.
Let’s take a closer look:
1. Weight Training
One of the best ways to fight against osteoporosis even in early adulthood is weight training.
Ultimately, weight training leads to higher levels of peak bone mass.
Heck, even the elderly can benefit from lifting weights…
Hence, lifting weights in the elderly has been shown to increase bone mass and slow the progression of the disease. (10)
Plus, the strength gained from training improves balance and makes you less likely to fall and break a bone.
Consequently, if you’re new to strength training, we recommend working with a personal trainer.
That way, you can learn proper form and avoid injury.
2. Eat a Bone-healthy Diet – Less Salt
One dietary move you can make that your bones will love is to consume less sodium (salt).
In fact, one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of osteoporosis is to eat less salt.
Moreover, a high salt intake of over 2000mg daily has been shown to decrease bone density at a much faster rate, especially in aging women. (11)
3. Eat a Bone-healthy Diet – More Calcium
In terms of calcium, it’s best to get it from whole foods instead of supplements.
Actually, studies show that taking a lot of calcium supplements can increase the risk of kidney stones. (12)
Furthermore, the best calcium-rich foods for healthy bones are almonds, salmon, broccoli, and dense leafy greens like collard greens and spinach.
For the meat-eaters out there, salmon and sardines have extremely high levels of calcium.
If you’re on a plant-based diet, broccoli, spinach, and collard greens are your best bet.
Also, nuts like almonds and brazil nuts are high in calcium.
Thus, make sure to snack on them when you get the chance!
These nuts also have high levels of magnesium which your bones absolutely love.
Plus, magnesium works closely with calcium in the body so make sure to get plenty of both.
Vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium supplements are potent cocktails for overall bone health. (13)
Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem and contributes to osteoporosis. (14)
Moreover, Vitamin D supplements are especially important in winter to make up for the lack of sunshine.
Additionally, Vitamin K also plays a big role in bone health and is widely available as a supplement. (15)
Last but not least, magnesium supports bone formation and maintenance.
5. Quit Smoking
Preventing osteoporosis goes hand in hand with living a healthy lifestyle, free of harmful substances.
That includes smoking!
As it turns out, smoking cigarettes doesn’t just hurt the lungs, it also wears down bone density. (16)
If you’re currently a smoker, don’t worry, it’s never too late to quit!
Not to mention, there is plenty of assistance is out there for those addicted to smoking who want to stop.
Chances are, quitting will help slow down the aging process that’s accelerated by cigarette smoking.
6. Ditch the Alcohol
Alcohol consumption is scarily damaging for all adults.
In fact, even moderate drinking can cause a surprising level of bone deterioration in younger adults.
Scarier still, this bone damage can sometimes become irreversible. (17)
So ditch the booze already!
If you have any more questions about aging and osteoporosis, feel free to reach out to us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.