Age and bones have a love-hate relationship. When we are young our bones are in better shape and functioning, but as we start to age, bone health starts getting affected. This is the reason, why each and every one of us should be informed about the bone health.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) puts this disease second along with the cardiovascular diseases at the top, on the list of serious global healthcare problems. Studies have reported that Asian women have higher predisposition for the osteoporosis than their Caucasian counterparts. About 1 in 3 women over the age of 30 years of age experience fractures related to osteoporosis. The attainment of peak bone mass in adolescent years and the rate of bone loss during postmenopausal years are some of the major factors contributing to bone health in older women. The rate of bone loss accelerates during the early postmenopausal years. The accelerated bone loss in the post menopausal osteoporosis is a result of decline estrogen concentrations. According to WHO, it is an under-recognized public health concern that needs immediate attention. The lack of knowledge and awareness about this crippling disease has translated into a significant human and economic burden on India. While osteoporosis has been known to commonly affect menopausal women, improper dietary habits and an increasingly indoor lifestyle are now putting the relatively younger generation at risk. The lack of awareness about the disease and specific osteoporosis guidelines further raise concerns about its growing trend in the country.
- Take-home messages for optimum bone health in the elderly.
- Select food rich in calcium like low-fat milk, low-fat dairy products like yogurt, homemade curd, paneer, custard, low sugar soft niger seed chikki/foxnut (makhana) kheer, calcium-enriched soymilk, kidney beans, cow peas, moth beans, lentils, whole red gram, whole Bengal gram, whole greengram, whole black gram, and whole horse gram, almonds or its milk, gingelly seeds (black/brown/white), dried figs, vegetable leaves like amaranth/ bathua/ fenugreek/ colocasia/mustard/ raddish/ drumstick/ knol-khol, spices like cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and sardines as a good choice.
- Instead of staple rice and wheat replace some days with millets like ragi, amaranth seeds (Rajgira) which are calcium-rich.
- For vitamin D fortified milk and its sources, cereals (wheat flour/rice), edible vegetable oil; salmon, sardines, mackerel, egg, liver along with exposure to sunlight for at least 45 minutes between 10.00 am to 02.00pm in India should be followed.
- Weight-bearing exercise on a chair with correct posture and balance under expert supervision should be initiated with warm-up workout and relaxation along with the practice of walking and gardening has to be taken care of for good bone health with ageing.