Like any other stressed working professional, journalist Ruchi Kumar never paid attention to her body’s minor aches and pains, beyond wishing that she could take a vacation more frequently. But that mood of indifference quickly evaporated when she realised that walking even short distances led to acute pain in her legs. She had no idea what was causing the problem till her doctor informed her that her bones were not adequately nourished.
Many young people similarly overlook their bones. “We tend to take our bones for granted,” agrees Dr SKS Marya, chairman, orthopedics, Max Health Care. “It is unfortunate, considering that bones constitute the very basic structure of the body.”
Most problems involving bones, say experts, occur due to deficiencies of calcium, Vitamin D3 and phosphorus. “There are two ways in which these deficiencies can occur – either there is a lack of proper intake of these due to inadequate diet and insufficient exposure to sunlight, or their absorption in the body is not proper,” explains Dr Marya. “And absorption can happen only if the calcium content in the body is adequate,” he adds.
Other reasons like the body’s muscle bulk not being adequate, and lack of proper exercise could also lead to weakening of the bones, say experts.
Soak up the sun
Rickets is the most common bone disease among kids, and osteoporosis generally affects those aged 50 and above. However, experts say that most bone disorders among people between the ages of 25 to 50 are due to poor lifestyle. “A lot of problems such as the lack of Vitamin D3 among young people (and correspondingly, bone problems) generally develop because we do not expose ourselves enough to the sun,” explains Dr Vivek Shetty, consultant orthopedic surgeon at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai.
He adds, “Our lifestyles have evolved in such a manner that we thrive in AC environments and protect ourselves against the sun at all times. We forget to give the body its necessary dose of Vitamin D3. Today kids too don’t go outdoors to play anymore.” Add the fact that most of us embrace a sedentary routine, and the result, say experts, is weak bones. “Smoking, drinking and hyper-thyroidism are other factors that affect the bones,” says Dr Shetty.
Does one need regular check-ups in order to keep one’s bones healthy? “Not necessarily,” says Dr Marya. “A Dexa bone scan can be done for women over 40 years and men over 50.” Adds Dr Shetty, “Younger individuals can get a bone density test done annually or every couple of years.”
Keep your bones healthy
Regular consumption of 1/2 litre double toned milk every day or adequate amount of milk products like paneer, butter etc
Five to 10 min in the sun everyday
Calcium and Vitamin D3 tablets, but only if prescribed by your doctor
20 minutes of daily exercise.
Strenuous exercise like swimming, aerobics or cycling is good for youngsters while older people can do with a brisk walk.
Your bones are weak if you suffer from...
Aches and pains in the shoulder and knee
Body cramps n Shin pain after short walks