“Weak Bones don’t show any symptoms till they break. Listen to your body and get a bone-density test done.”
Our skeletal framework supports our body, protects our vital organs and enables us to perform manoeuvres seamlessly. Our bones are a warehouse for minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. These minerals strengthen our immunity and keep our bones strong and vigorous.
But, over time as we age, our bones tend to become weak and fragile. Weak bones are prone to fractures and restrict our body movements causing immense pain. Dr. N.K. Agarwal, the Chief Consultant at Joints and Spine Centre Ludhiana, says,” Today, our sedentary lifestyle is the real culprit causing weaker bones”. “Healthy living and proper exercising are mandatory for strong and robust bones”, adds the best Orthopaedician in Ludhiana.
Weak or Porous bones may lead to many diseases and health conditions like:
- Low Bone Density resulting in Osteoporosis
- Osteogenesis imperfect (brittle bones, genetic disorder)
- Paget’s disease of bone
- Bones prone to infections and Cancer
Rather than spending heavily on surgeries, it’s essential to take care of your bones. Let’s understand the bone phenomena, reasons for weak bones and how to make bones stronger.
Our Changing Bones
Our body continues to undergo a lifelong process of ossification (making new bone) and resorption (removing old bones). Our entire skeletal system gets replaced in a decade approximately. But the process gets slows down as we age.
Dr. Agarwal says, “Till our body holds a great balance of old and new bone, the skeletal framework stays intact, strong and healthy”. A little bone loss is normal for everyone after we enter our 30’s. But, a healthy lifestyle and regular exercising boost the ossification process resulting in stronger and more vigorous bones.
When our body isn’t able to make new bones and old bones continue to wither, bone loss occurs. This bone loss further affects bone density, thereby making the bones porous, fragile and brittle. Such bones break and get fractured without any obvious injury.
Bone Loss and Osteoporosis
The ossification process or new bone development suffers delays if:
- You are not taking a high calcium-rich diet.
- Calcium absorption is low in your body (insufficient vitamin-D).
- More calcium is removed by the body through urine than normal.
In such a scenario, our calcium deficit body takes the minerals from bones to compensate for the loss. This drastically affects bone density and makes bones weaker. This is the onset of osteopenia. The worst case of osteopenia results in a condition called osteoporosis.
Weak bones don’t show up any symptoms until they break. This means you are at a high risk of bone fracture even without a severe bone injury. And by the time, the fracture occurs; your body may have lost a significant amount of bone.
Which age groups are at a higher risk of having weak bones?
As told by the experienced Orthopaedician of Ludhiana, “On an average, men over the age of 70 and women over the age of 50 are at a much higher risk”. But, there are several other reasons which are leaving the younger generation affected too, adds Dr. Aggarwal.
How do I know if I have Osteoporosis?
There are no specific symptoms of a weak bone. The best way to identify weak bones is to listen to your body. Your body gives you subtle hints and you need to listen to them.
If you are undergoing any of the following symptoms, consult your family Orthopaedician in Ludhiana today. The doctor will advise you to undergo a bone density test. This test helps to diagnose how dense (strong) your bones are. The test is safe, quick and painless.
Symptoms: Listen to Your Body
Dr. N.K. Aggarwal says that bone density tests are just a way to look inside your bone. But, you can binge on these red-indicators and take appropriate measures before it’s too late.
- Receding gums
- Decreased grip strength
- Stopped Posture/ limping
- Weak and brittle fingernails
- Fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Height loss over time
- Unexpected fracture without any injury
Taking care and precautions in the early stages would save you from undergoing unwanted and expensive surgeries. Prevention is always better than cure.
What are the reasons for weak bones and bone loss?
There are various reasons for bone loss. These can be categorized into controllable, uncontrollable and medication categories.
Uncontrollable Reasons for Weak Bones
- Age: Some Bone loss is normal as we grow old.
- Gender: Women are at a higher risk of having weak bones than men. Menopause and hormonal changes being the real culprit behind the same.
- Ethnicity: It has been observed that Asian and White women are more susceptible to porous bones than women from African origin.
- Hereditary: If any of the family members are suffering from osteoporosis, the posterity is at a high risk of getting the same down the genetic line.
- Hormonal Imbalance: People with lowered sex hormones (estrogen in women and testosterone in men) are at a higher risk of weaker bones. An adroit Orthopaedician Dr. N.K. Aggarwal says, “Cancer treatments for prostate and breast significantly impact the bone density and accelerate bone loss”.
Overactive Thyroid or medications for hypothyroidism also slow down the ossification process, resulting in weaker bones. The overactivity of adrenal glands and parathyroid glands has also been responsible for bone loss.
Controllable Reasons for Weak Bones
These reasons are more related to our modern-day lifestyle. Have a look:
- Physical Activity: Exercises help to make our bones strong. When the bones bear weight and work against gravity they turn dense and strong. But, no physical exercise and a sedentary lifestyle make the body more prone to osteoporosis.
Opting for lifts and escalators rather than stairs, sitting for longer durations, biking and riding rather than walking, etc. are some of the common reasons for bone loss.
- Body Weight: You are likely to have weak bones if you are underweight or too thin. Lower body weight means low bone mass as well. You need to exercise well to gain more bone mass and robust bone-framework.
- Smoking and Alcohol Consumption: As per Dr. N.K. Aggarwal, “Smoking and drinking prevent your body from absorbing calcium which further worsens the situation”. These are not only bad for bones but leave the body vulnerable to other fatal diseases as well.
- Diet: Calcium and Vitamin-D are very essential for the bones. Lack of any of these results in weak bones. Vitamin-D helps the body in calcium absorption as well.
Medical Disorders resulting in Weak Bones
If a person is bed-ridden or confined to chair due to some medical condition, he is at a high risk of weak bones. Being stationary, avoids the muscles and bones to bear any weight. This makes them unused, thereby, making patients susceptible to osteoporosis.
The rule is simple, “Use it or Lose it”, says an expert Orthopaedic doctor in Ludhiana, Dr. N.K. Aggarwal. Some medical conditions are also responsible for the weakening of bones such as:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Medications to treat seizures and epilepsy
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Excessive use of steroids
- Kidney or liver disease
- Weight loss surgeries
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Gastric reflux
- Cancer and its treatment
- Organ Transplant rejection
- Diabetes, typically Type-1
Bones fractures in the hip and spine are the most serious complications due to osteoporosis. It may prove fatal, if not treated properly.
How can I strengthen my bones?
Dr. N.K. says, “It’s never too late to start taking care of your bones. Just get started!” Here are some expert health tips from Dr. N.K. Aggarwal that would help you to reinstate the robustness and vitality of the bones.
- Eating Balanced and Calcium Rich diet: Eat a well-balanced diet with perfect proportions of calcium, protein and Vitamin-D. Low-fat dairy products, green leafy vegetables, salmon, tofu and calcium-fortified cereals are good sources of calcium. Sunlight is the main source of Vitamin-D. Additionally, this vitamin can be obtained from salt water, fish and milk with vitamin-D.
- Exercise: Rigorous weight-bearing and resistance exercises should be performed 2-3 times a week depending upon the stamina. Take a break from your sedentary lifestyle. Start from smaller and easy options such as taking stairs, walking to your work area, regular exercising, etc.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Say a big NO to smoking and alcohol consumption for a healthier tomorrow.
- Body Weight: Maintain appropriate body weight. Being underweight and overweight, both are dangerous for bone health.
Over to you!
Dr. N.K. Aggarwal believes, “Strong Bones are the foundation of youth and vitality”. Having strong and robust bones ensures a great reserve of minerals for future usage. Taking care of bones from initial phases means saying no to weak bones, bone loss and every bone disorder.
Bones demand nothing but your care. And, in return, they provide you the ability to stay active and flexible in your older years.
Facing any sort of discomfort in walking, standing upright or doing your daily chores and body manoeuvres? Contact us today for expert advice from the best Orthopaedician in Ludhiana- Dr. N.K. Aggarwal.