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When we talk about living healthy, we get concerned about our heart health, blood sugar levels, blood pressure etc., and try to do all that we can to control the levels and stay healthy. However, with such superficial concern we tend to overlook the most important systems of our body the skeletal system. Keep in mind that weak bones can never hold a healthy body, which should be reason enough for you to start taking good care of your bones.
Here are seven things that you should avoid to keep your bones strong and healthy:
The ill effects of nicotine have been stressed enough, but you should bear in mind that it doesn't spare your bones either. 'A person who has been smoking since adolescence develops inadequate bone mass as compared to a non-smoker of the same age. Cigarettes contain nicotine and free radicals that make the bones weak and prone to bone damage. In women, smoking affects the hormonal activities in addition to reducing bone density and hence leading to osteoporosis. In fact, in a pregnant woman, its effects are grave, as it directly influences the growth and development of the fetus', says Dr Dr Shailendra Patil, Consultant, Orthopedic Surgeon, Sunrise Hospital, Mumbai. Highlighting more of its ill-effects Dr Dr Gautam Kodikal, Senior Orthopaedic Surgeon, Nova Specialty Hospitals, Bangalore says, 'Smoking increases the production of two proteins that stimulate the production of osteoclasts, cells that break down bones. This also causes osteoporosis and weakening of the bones. Smoking restricts blood flow to bones by blocking small arteries, resulting in weaker bones.' Read 10-natural-remedies-to-prevent-osteoporosis.
The excessive intake of alcohol poses various health risks, not the least for your bones. 'Heavy consumption of alcohol interferes with Vitamin D metabolism and absorption of calcium by the bones. Moreover, liver function in alcoholics gets impaired, which further reduces Vitamin D levels in the body. It also decreases estrogen and testosterone levels in humans, which leads to osteoporosis,' says Dr Kodikal. 'Occasional drinking doesn't have such severe consequences on bone health as chronic drinking. Remember alcohol affects the liver and pancreas, both of which are the main source of vitamin D and calcium metabolism. Chronic alcoholism causes malnutrition too,' says Dr Patil. Read Is modern living taking a toll on your bones.
Consumption of junk food can also affect the health of your bones adversely. 'Junk food is high in fat and calories, but low in essential nutrients and minerals. This is the main reason why excessive consumption of junk food leads to obesity and severe weight gain which in turn affects bone density,' says Dr Patil. 'Moreover ,heavy drinkers have poor eating habits and often end up eating junk food that has less nutritional value, but are high in calories. These foods kill one's appetite and weaken one's bones too,' says Dr Kodikal. Read about three symptoms of osteoporosis that you should know.
Exercise is like the elixir for good health. However, wrong moves, especially with weights, can take a toll on your bones. Lifting weights that are too heavy, without much training or proper protection, can at times damage the joints. It is always better to consult a trainer before you venture into weight lifting or take up other heavy weight exercises. Remember, exercise if done the right way can boost bone health too, 'Some specific exercises like isotonic and isometric exercises have very good effects on the muscular system of the body. Dynamic loads transferred through exercise on the skeletal system will improve the quality of bones. It strengthens patterns of bones too. It also increases blood supply to the muscles and bones,' says Dr Patil. Read Bone health tips that you didn't know.
A sedentary lifestyle is a killer in many ways. Desk jobs, less household chores (as most things are managed by machines or household help), entertainment through the television and computer as opposed to physical sports and other unhealthy lifestyle habits, all contribute to weakness of the bones.
This is one chronic condition that has adverse effects on the skeletal structure of the body. 'It typically affects the bone joints. Bio-mechanically, if an overweight person gets up after prolonged hours of sitting, the body weight increases thrice the time on the knees. This leads to maximum wear and tear on the joints, and it is more common in people who are obese. Obesity also has bad effects on the lumbar spine, as it alters normal lumbar spinal lordosis and causes chronic low back pain,' explains Dr Patil. Read Why weight loss surgery can be bad for your bones?
A diet that lacks calcium sources will eventually affect your bone health to a large extent. Including more veggies and dairy products can help you counter the problem.
As you age your bones tend to get weak and deteriorate, unless you ensure proper care and give them the requisite attention. Unfortunately for women, hormonal changes in their systems make them more prone to bone disorders. Remember, osteoporosis after menopause is common in women, as the estrogen levels go down,' explains Dr Kodikal. Read Why do women suffer from osteoporosis?
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Calcium and vitamin deficiency can lead to osteoporosis. To know more about this condition, visit our Osteoporosis page section. For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. For Osteoporosis related queries, visit our forum.
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