Bone Health

Bone Health

Keeping our bones as strong as possible is particularly important as we age as they naturally become thinner over time.

Osteoporosis is a condition which causes reduced bone density and increases susceptibility to fracture (breaking a bone). It is more common in women due to bone loss occurring more rapidly after menopause. The likelihood of having osteoporosis increases if you:

  • Have ever broken a bone following a minor bump or fall (over the age of 50)
  • Have a low BMI
  • Have a family history of osteoporosis or hip fracture
  • Are a current smoker or drink more than 3 units of alcohol per day
  • Have taken oral corticosteroids (e.g. Prednisolone) for more than 3 months
  • Have a diagnosis of Rheumatoid  Arthritis
  • Have Type I diabetes, untreated hyperthyroidism, chronic malnutrition/ malabsorption, chronic liver disease
  • Have gone through a premature menopause (<45 years) without taking HRT

If you have broken a bone after a minor bump or fall and haven’t discussed your bone health with another professional, it is important to see your GP so your bone health can be assessed. Diet and lifestyle changes can help to keep your bones as strong as possible, regardless of whether you have osteoporosis or not:

  • Stop smoking as this can damage the bone building cells in your body
  • Keep your alcohol intake low — excessive alcohol can destroy bones and make you unsteady
  • Try to take some sort of weight bearing exercise 
    • If you have not broken a bone before, exercise which encourages moderate impact as jogging, jumping, stamping would be beneficial. 
    • If you have had a previous fracture or are diagnosed with osteoporosis, The Royal Osteoporosis Society can guide you as to which exercises may be suitable for you. Alternatively speak to your physiotherapist
  • Ensure your Vitamin D intake is sufficient. The best source is sunlight acting on skin or a daily supplement. Sunlight exposure without sunscreen should be limited to 10 minutes per day on the arms and face between May and September, All adults are recommended to take a daily 10 microgram Vitamin D supplement (sometimes called 400 Units), particularly over the winter months (October to March) or if you do not go outdoors. These are available in supermarkets or pharmacies.
  • Ensure you include plenty of calcium in your diet (1000mg a day)

For further information:

The Royal Osteoporosis Society

Royal Osteoporosis Society: Take the osteoporosis risk checker

Royal Osteoporosis Society: Exercise and physical activity for bone health

Royal Osteoporosis Society: Nutrition for bones