By Michele Howe.
Making the most of every birthday (every day)…aging strong (and healthy.)
I love birthdays…my own and everyone else’s!
Call it a hangover from childhood memories and those early traditions…but birthdays are the single one day of the whole year when it’s just fun to pick what you where you want to go (sitting on a warm beach) and what you want to do (sitting on a warm beach with a great book and playing my favorite music) and what you want to eat (sitting on a warm beach with a great book and playing my favorite music while enjoying iced tea + pizza + dark chocolate) …so when I’m trying to decide to how “help” a friend celebrate their special day…I try to tailor their wants and needs and match it to them specifically (and their age)!
In a similar way, every birthday we pass should cue us into thinking about our health…in particular, our bone health. Often, we give very little thought to proactively caring for this aspect of our bodies…but we should.
If you’ve ever wondered what “bone density” means as you age, here’s your answer.
At every decade of life, specific changes are occurring. Below, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Christopher A. Foetisch explains this aging process and how to keep your bones at their strongest density ever.
TWENTIES: As we age, bodies go through a gradual process of breakdown. In the early twenties, bone density is at its greatest. From that point forward, bone density begins to gradually decline. Therefore, women want to start at the point with the greatest bone density, so that when the breakdown process begins they have a higher starting point from which to decline.
THIRTIES: This means that in the thirties, it is vital to consume the proper amount of calcium and vitamin D. Also, weight-bearing exercises are important to stimulate the formation of strong, dense bones. At this age, the most common injuries are traumatic in nature.
FORTIES: Bone loss now begins to increase at a faster pace. If there is a strong family history of bone related issues, it is important to make one’s primary care physician aware of this fact. Exercise and calcium with vitamin D become even more important. Again, any bone injuries tend to be traumatic in nature.
FIFTIES: In the fifties, osteoporosis can become a real issue. If you have not done a good job of maintaining good bone density, osteoporosis related fractures can begin to occur. Typically, the type of injuries seen are that of wrist and ankle fractures. A bone density scan should be considered at this time.
SIXTIES and SEVENTIES: Here, osteoporosis related problems begin to significantly increase. This is commonly seen in the form of hip, pelvic and spinal fractures. More aggressive medical treatment such as medication to reduce bone loss should be considered at this time. A follow-up bone density scan should be performed at this point.