Are your bones in trouble? There are some tell-tale signs of osteoporosis that are easily ignored. To be 100% sure, ask your doctor for a full health check-up including scans and x-rays. Understanding the warning signs of osteoporosis will help you detect it early on and prevent the condition from getting worse.
These osteoporosis symptoms and preventions are the next best thing to getting a bone scan and medical treatment.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a progressive disease, often seen in older women. It affects legs, hips, back, ankles or jaws see your doctor. Today, doctors recommend healthy women over 65 with a low risk of osteoporosis to get a DEXA scan and repeat it every 2 to 5 years. But this is not just a senior or women’s health problem. Everyone’s bones start to degenerate after age 30. But we tend to ignore their bone health, thinking it is not a vital organ.
- Chipped Nails
Are your nails always breaking? Then maybe your bones are brittle too. Like skin, your nails and bones have collagen protein which makes them stronger. If your nails keep breaking, it may be caused by insufficient collagen.
And weak nails mean weak bones too.
Vertical nail ridges are a sign your body lacks calcium, and this weakens bones too.
What to do: Consume more calcium-rich foods, such as milk (vitamin D enriched), yoghurt, broccoli, okra (bhindi), cabbage, nuts, soya, and fish with bones (sardines). If you take a calcium supplement, make sure you are getting vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) to improve absorption. Do not forget to take potassium rich foods and vitamin K too.
- Weakened Grip
Having difficulty gripping things? If you are finding it difficult to grip doorknobs or push yourself up from a seated position, your bones are weakening. Many middle-aged women face the problem of frail bones and weak muscles. It is a warning sign that your bones may be in trouble. Researchers believe that there is a correlation between the decreased handgrip and the bone density in the forearms, spine, and hip.
What to do: Yoga or martial arts, such as tai chi improves balance, flexibility and strength. Also, add a variety of proteins to your diet. Lift weights to be stronger, tone and build muscle along with a personal trainer. This will reduce your risk of falling.
- Receding Gums
Do you have tooth loss? Weak bones will also make your jaw lose bone mass, so your gums will begin to move away from your teeth. Women sometimes show signs of osteoporosis by losing their teeth, or discover that their dentures do not fit well anymore. In fact, studies show that women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to lose teeth than men!
What to do: Ask your dentist to help you detect weakened bones with a dental x-ray. Osteoporosis often runs in the family. If you are a woman and your mother or grandmother had severe osteoporosis, you may also have it. Quit smoking because vitamin deficiencies make things worse. Long-term use of steroids and a calcium deficiency will also accelerate the condition.
- Faster average heartbeat
Is your heart racing? Your heart is an indication of your fitness level. The average person has a resting heart rate that is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Studies suggest that 80 beats per minute and over increases the risk of hip, pelvis and spine fracture. This is caused by a sedentary lifestyle and inactivity. Exercising, especially weight training like walking is important for a strong heart and lowering your resting heartbeat.
What to do: Begin to monitor your resting heart beat per minute when you wake up in the morning. Count your pulse by pressing two fingers on your wrist for 15 seconds and multiply the number by 4. Regular workouts will eventually lead to a slower resting heart beat. Cardio, such as biking and swimming are also great for lowering resting heart rates. But to make your bones stronger, mix it with weight-bearing activity like walking, running or Zumba!
- Aching muscles or bones
Getting older is usually associated with more aches and pains, but you may also be vitamin D or mineral deficient, which are needed in balanced doses to avoid cramps and lower back pain. Leg cramps at night are a common warning sign that your body needs more calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Otherwise, you may face excessive bone loss and premature osteoporosis.
Other essential bone nutrients are vitamin K, phosphorus, boron, and strontium.
What to do: Eat more foods rich in calcium, eat fish with bones, lettuce or spinach, and go for a morning walk in the sunshine. Consider taking a daily multivitamin right for your age.
- Reduced height
You may have a parent or grandparent who is slightly shorter now than they were as younger adults. It happens gradually and the back may not look straight. Many elderly folk develop a poor standing posture because the muscles around the spine are weak. This is caused by loss of bone,
What to do: Improve your diet, move more and avoid injury.
- Poor fitness level
If you are not physically active, your bones and muscles will eventually become weak. Even the elderly should get some fitness into your routine.
What to do: Going for a 30-60 minute morning walk will strengthen muscles and bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Weak bones aren’t necessarily a “senior” thing
Most people think of osteoporosis as a “senior” problem, and there is no need to be concerned about your bones before age 65. But the truth is that the groundwork to prevent premature bone loss is laid way earlier. Don’t ignore your annual health check-up after age 40. Early detection is the key to prevention of this progressive disease. Ensure you consume enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet, and take a supplement.
Most of these osteoporosis symptoms can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes: Eat right, exercise regularly, and take calcium and vitamin D supplements. As with any health condition, an early detection is the best prevention. If your mother or grandmothers suffered from osteoporosis then watch out for the early warning signs, so you can avoid getting a bone fracture.