28th June 2010
One of the inevitable consequences of our aging population is that more and more people are living long enough to develop age-related diseases and conditions.
For those of us working in the South West’s healthcare sector this is a major consideration given our larger than average proportion of older people in the region.
And, although not confined to older people, the progressive disease osteoporosis becomes ever more common as we age, with roughly half of all bone fractures in women aged over 50 (one in five for men) being caused by it (source: National Osteoporosis Society).
June is National Osteoporosis Month, which aims to raise awareness of the disease, but what exactly is it? Well, its name literally means “porous bones” and it is often referred to as “fragile bone disease”. When people develop osteoporosis their bones become much weaker and can cause deformity and postural changes.
Here are some more facts and figures about the disease and, if you want to do your bit to keep your bones healthy, here are a few pointers:
- Make sure there is plenty of calcium in your diet – seeds, dairy products, leafy vegetables etc are all packed with this
- Vitamin D (fish and dairy) enhances your absorption of calcium
- Being physically active actually stimulates bone growth
- Coffee, alcohol and smoking can all cause a negative calcium balance
- Soft drinks like colas contain high levels of phosphates which can cause calcium to leach from your bones
- Vitamin K (asparagus, broccoli, oats), magnesium (apples, avocados, apricots), boron (apples, carrots, grapes) vitamin B6 (walnuts, seeds, carrots), folic acid (brown rice, dates, lentils) and vitamin B12 (dairy, seafood, egg) are all essential.
So make some choices to minimise your chances of developing osteoporosis, but don’t let it stop you enjoying the summer!
For more information go to www.nos.org.uk or to arrange a bone density scan at Spire Bristol Hospital call 0117 980 4000.