Why Do Strong Bones Matter As We Age?
From birth, bones are constantly breaking down and regenerating stronger, fresher joints and limbs. However, from age 25, this process begins to slow down. When adults reach 40, bone loss occurs, and women after menopause experience rapid bone loss. By the time adults become seniors, bone health plays a crucial role in the quality of life. Using the proper supplementation can support declining bone health and even prevent future complications.
Osteopenia and osteoporosis
Bone loss is expected with age as the body begins to reabsorb some of the minerals necessary for bone growth. However, too much bone loss can lead to low bone density, known as osteopenia. Over time, seniors can develop porous, weak bones or osteoporosis. At this point, the possibility of fractures increases significantly. Even a fall from standing or low-impact movement can cause bones to break. About 54 million Americans have bone mass issues, with many unaware of the condition until a fracture occurs.
Complications with fractures
Fractures, especially in the hips, spine, and knees, often require surgery or joint replacement. Not only is this a financial challenge, but a serious health risk. Seniors can lose mobility and independence and experience ongoing pain. Studies show that seniors with fractures have slower recovery rates and shorter lifespans. Women are 4 times as likely to have osteoporosis and suffer fractures. Fracture recovery aside, treating osteoporosis can be difficult. Several factors contribute to poor bone health. Yet, supplements are one of the best ways to compensate for vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Crank up the calcium
The body stores 99% of calcium in bones and teeth. Calcium fortifies bone and is essential for preventing fractures. Calcium is found in milk, dairy products, dark leafy greens, and nuts. However, some diets do not contain these foods. Calcium supplements can provide a boost that diet cannot provide. Take calcium supplements with caution and seek guidance from a doctor first. Too much calcium can lead to kidney stones or other complications.
Try vitamin D
Vitamin D may be as crucial to bone health as calcium. The sunshine vitamin comes from converting sunlight via cholesterol in the skin. Without vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium and other minerals needed for bone development. However, limited sun exposure, especially with age, means many seniors are vitamin D-deficient. There are also few foods with vitamin D, so a supplement is vital.
More magnesium, please?
While calcium is abundant in the bone, magnesium is just as essential for bone health. Magnesium is a mineral involved in hundreds of processes in the body. One such process is the development of bone cells and hormones necessary for bone growth. Bones store about 60% of magnesium, and a deficiency directly correlates with osteoporosis development. There are different forms of magnesium, so speak with a doctor or pharmacist for the best formulation.
What else can you do?
A diet high in protein can help build new bones. Protein also helps with muscle growth, which can further protect declining bones. Quitting smoking and alcohol can have a positive long-term effect on bone health. From age 50, visit a doctor for a bone density scan to help identify early signs of osteoporosis. Those at risk will need follow-up scans based on doctor recommendations. Moderate resistance training can slow bone loss and strengthen the body for better posture. Finally, ensure that the home is arranged to reduce the risk of falling.
The right supplements matter
Supplements are one of the best ways for seniors to help maintain bone mass. Getting the right vitamins and minerals is especially important for those diagnosed with osteopenia or at risk for osteoporosis. Along with a nutrient-rich diet, supplements may include vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium. Take all supplements as recommended by a doctor. If there is a risk of polypharmacy, consider a multivitamin or compounded supplement.
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