Here’s a sobering thought – you aren’t getting any younger! Sorry, but it’s true. And as you get older, you may be prone to certain health problems that often come with age. These include heart disease, hearing loss, and dementia. However, for the benefit of this article, we are going to focus on two painful health conditions that affect your bones and joints, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. These debilitating conditions are common amongst many of us, but thankfully, you can take steps to minimize the risks of them happening to you. Not only will this ensure you have a less painful and difficult time of it as you age, but you will also have less to fear if the idea of getting older causes you worry.
Osteoporosis is a bone-weakening disease that can increase the risk of fractures. According to this article, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50, and 1 in 5 men will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. While there are treatments available to sufferers, your first course of action should be to prevent the risk of this crippling disease affecting you.
For starters, you need to know if you are likely to suffer from the problem. With a DEXA scan, medical professionals can test your bone mass, and taking into account other factors, such as age and other bone-related medical conditions, diagnose the likelihood of osteoporosis in your life. If the risk factor is high, then you need to take extra care as you go about your life, including taking steps to reduce the risk of an injury that could cause a fracture. However, you should still take preventative measures regardless of the diagnosis.
To reduce the risk of any problems, you should do what you can to preserve your bone health. This includes walking and other weight-bearing exercises, as well as balance training, which could decrease your risk of a fall later in life when you might ordinarily be less steady on your feet. You should also increase your vitamin D and calcium intake, so be sure to add more dairy products to your life, as well as fatty fish, breakfast cereal, and orange juice. And cut out any bad habits that are known risk factors to osteoporosis, including smoking nicotine and drinking alcohol in excess. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why you should cut down on both of these habits.
Statistically speaking, 10% of men and 13% of women over the age of 60 suffer from this painful joint disease. Affecting the hands, spine, hips, and knees, this is a crippling health problem that develops over time. Thankfully, you don’t have to become another statistic.
To reduce the likelihood of this painful disease, you need to maintain a healthy weight. You see, the less strain you put on your knee and hip joints the better, so focus on eating a diet rich in essential nutrients and exercise regularly. Exercise is good for keeping your muscles strong too, especially aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, jogging, and cycling, so do as much as you can to alleviate the risk of osteoarthritis in your life. And as with osteoporosis, do what you can to avoid the risk of a fracture, as the more fragile your bones are through an injury, the more likely you are to fall prey to either bone diseases.
The Arthritis Foundation has other helpful tips on reducing osteoarthritis, so read the linked article for further information.
Thanks for reading!