Aging is inevitable and with it comes many health complications, such as bone and joint degeneration. Your bones provide support for the body and give you shape and posture, while your joints make the skeleton flexible. If bones and joints are not properly taken care of, they can become weak and even break which may need surgery to heal. That is why it is vital that you take care of them now.
Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines, encourages everyone to take care of their bones and joints while they are still young to prevent fractures and bone diseases.
“As you age, your bones and joints become brittle and weak. This may lead to bone diseases such as osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the wrist, spine, and hip. These fractures can be very painful and make it difficult to do the things you usually do every day. If you don’t do the best you can now to make your bones strong, you might get this disease when you are older,” says Dr. Montoya.
Here are some tips for good bone and joint health:
Watch your weight. To ensure strong bones and joints, you need to maintain a healthy body weight. Extra body weight creates strain on your joints, particularly the knee joints. Research has shown that with every pound gained, you put four times more stress on the knees, while losing weight helps prevent joint injury and reduces pressure on the knees, hips, and back. Shedding as little as 10 pounds of body weight can help reduce pain and improve circulation.
Exercise. Less movement means more stiffness in your joints. People who remain glued to a chair all day have a higher risk for joint pain. Weight-bearing exercises can help keep your bones healthy. High-impact activities such as dancing, jogging, and running are advisable but if you’re predisposed to weak bones, walking may be a better exercise for you.
Know your limits. Exercising is good for your body, but you have to make sure that you are not pushing yourself too hard. Certain exercise and activities might be too tough for your joints to handle at first and workouts that have you bend forward may increase the risk of compressing a bone in your spine. Ask a trainer, physical therapist, or coach to help you modify exercises that cause joint pain. Listen to your body and go slow.
Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water is one of the best ways to maintain joint health because proper hydration helps lubricate the joints. The joints’ synovial fluid, the liquid that allows the bones to glide over each other without friction, decreases as you age, and dehydration can cause the fluid to plummet rapidly thus causing bones to rub against each other.
Eat right. Healthy bones and joints stem from a diet that is rich in a range of minerals, proteins, and fats. The biggest cause of joint deterioration is the build up of free radicals, causing joints to swell and become painful. To prevent its effects, it is advisable to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as oranges, oil-rich nuts, and sardines. Aside from drinking milk and getting Vitamin D to ensure you have enough calcium for strong and healthy bones, bright-colored fruit and vegetables such as bananas, broccoli and peas are also recommended to help build and preserve bone mass.
If you have concerns about your bone and joint health, it’s best to talk to a doctor as soon as possible. MediCard has 12 free-standing clinics located in key cities nationwide that offer consultations, diagnostic tests and specialty medical services for young and adult patients. Go to the nearest MediCard clinic near you or visit www.medicardphils.com for more information.