Health Post – Positive Aging – Osteoporosis  

Brocolii is not a vegetable I enjoyed too much until we moved to Costa Rica and now I find that I enjoy it because it has a sweeter taste here than in New Zealand…but most importantly, it is one of the main sources of calcium which helps to prevent the development of Osteoporosis, a major and widespread health issue in the developed countries.

You can easily spot older people who have this disease that causes the bones to become brittle as they shrink and have a stooped posture. All women have some degree of Osteoporosis after Menopause. Medical sources suggest that all women after the age of 65 should have a regular screen of their bone density. The main Risk Factors are – Age, being Female, some Family History of the disease and Body Weight less than 58 kilograms. Men are protected from the disease to a certain extent through having higher levels of Testosterone but still can be affected later on in life. 

Other Risk Factors are whether someone smokes (women who smoke a packet a day for 15 years lose 10% of their bone density!). Also the level of alcohol consumption has an effect on bone density. If a woman has been on regular medication for hormone replacement, anti depressants or anti spasm drugs they also will be at risk. A very high measure of whether someone has got this disease is that they have had broken bones throughout their life. If either parent has had Hip Replacements is another measure. If any woman has been pregnant this will also increase the risk because the baby will take the calcium it needs from the mother in the development of the baby.

So, even though the disease cannot be prevented, you can slow down its development by exercising regularly, particularly by doing resistance exercises. It is important that children exercise regularly as bone density reaches its peak at between 13 – 14 years for females and a little older for males. So to help build up bone density it is best that you were active as a child? Also if a young person were not only inactive, but smoked and drank sweet soda drinks are other factors in the early onset of the disease as they slow down the development of bone density.

The best way to increase bone density, other than exercising on a resistance program for 20 minutes a day about 5 times per week, is to stop smoking if you do and cut down on alcohol consumption is to ensure you get enough calcium and Vitamin D. As I have stated before, you cannot get your calcium from milk so vegetables such as broccoli and boney fish are a better option? (We should get 50% of our calcium needs from the food we eat – not calcium tablets!) Sunlight is the best source of gaining your required level of Vitamin D.

If you are in the older age group and have spinal hernias and get bone breakages easily, then these are a sign that your bone density is at a critically low level! Even older people can do residence exercise programs – under strict control at first, so think of starting some program if you don’t? Life is full of choices…

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