Keeping Your Bones Healthy

To me, being over 50 is the prime of life.  Here’s why.

It’s a time when your kids have grown into early adulthood and become self-sufficient.

You’ve been through a number of life’s trials and survived.

You’ve learned some things along the way and have applied them with positive results.

You don’t feel the need to constantly compete with others any longer for position, notoriety, or attention.

You’ve become more confident and comfortable with whom you are as an individual

You may not have as much time as you thought you would, but that time is spent doing more of what you enjoy doing.

Your kids begin to ask your advice when they need to make a decision because they’re finally admitting you just may have some wisdom that they can consider.There are lots of positives to our age.  However, one of the things we over 50s crowd must have a closer awareness of is our health.  Certainly we all have our own genetics to deal with.  Then there are the bad habits we’ve acquired along the way, as well as the detriments of our individual climates, work environments, and any illnesses or injuries we’ve become plagued with.

Regardless of our personal health, one thing we all need to be attentive to is osteoporosisWe hear the word thrown around quite often in our own circles of friends and families, but what is it?  Osteoporosis is a silent disease that happens over years.  It causes thinning of the bones, often without being noticed.  That is, until sudden symptoms become evident or an injury ensues, and it can happen at the least expected times. Sitting down too quickly, putting too much pressure on bones when moving quickly, or even being hugged too hard by a family member can cause breaking bones and a very long and painful recovery.

More often than not, osteoporosis is found in women but can also affect men and sometimes children.  The few symptoms that do appear are very subtle and can include weight loss, nagging pain (usually in the back), a gradual loss of height (with a tendency toward stooping), and a reduction of bone in the jaw.

Once the bones begin to deteriorate and thin, there is seldom any reversing of the disease, although there are things that can be done to slow the process.  The best way to deal with osteoporosis is to practice good preventative measures to avoid it altogether.

Drink milk.  I don’t mean skim, 1%, or 2% milk.  Those may help when it comes to lowering calories in your diet, but whole milk with Vitamin D and calcium is the best milk to drink if you’re hoping to avoid osteoporosis.  It has the things you need to keep the disease at bay.

Also include cereals, saltwater fish, egg yolks, and liver or liver products to add even more Vitamin D to your diet.

Exercise.  Doing a weight-bearing exercise, like walking for 30 minutes a day, is vital if you want to keep your bones healthy and strong, and your agility and flexibility at its peak.  New bone is built when they’re under physical stress through use so incorporate different types of physical exercise into your daily routine.

Avoid eating or drinking large amounts of caffeine, drinking heavily, or smoking since these things increase the risk.

Have yearly bone density tests and see your dentist regularly.  Through the tests performed and the x-rays that are taken, osteoporosis can be diagnosed much earlier and treated much sooner.

Whether you’re simply interested in preventing the onset of osteoporosis, or you’ve been diagnosed as being in the early stages of this disease, making these simple changes in your lifestyle will benefit you through the rest of your days.

Contributed by Debe Lange

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