How to Keep Your Bones Strong and Prevent Fractures

If you’re a young adult, start thinking about your bone health, an expert advises.

Most people reach peak bone mass — the strongest bones they’ll ever have — between 25 and 30 years of age, according to Dr. Philip Bosha, a physician with Penn State Sports Medicine in State College, Pa.

“To some extent, genetics determines the peak, but lifestyle influences, such as diet and exercise, are also factors,” Bosha said in a Penn State news release.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, bone mass starts to slowly decrease after age 40. Taking 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 1,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day can help maintain your bones. You should also do weight-bearing exercises such as running and brisk walking, as well as resistance training to maintain bone and muscle strength.

After age 50, the daily recommended calcium intake for men remains 1,000 milligrams per day, but rises to 1,200 milligrams for women, including those who are entering or have gone through menopause.

Declining estrogen levels due to menopause can lead to rapid bone loss. All women 65 and older — and those between 60 and 64 who have an increased risk of fractures — should get a bone density study, according to Bosha.

“If the bone density study shows osteoporosis, it may be reasonable to start taking a medication called a bisphosphonate, which you can get in a variety of forms,” he said. “Some are pills taken on a weekly or monthly basis and other varieties can be taken intravenously.”

Other medications to improve bone density include calcitonin, which can be used as a nasal spray; parathyroid hormone, which is taken by injection; and medications called selective estrogen receptor modulators.

Bosha said men and women who are 70 and older should take 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day and 800 IU of vitamin D. At this age, men become far more likely to have lower bone density, increasing their risk of fractures. Some men should consider a bone density study, Bosha said.

“For people of this age, avoiding falls is crucial,” he said. “Maintaining balance and muscle strength through exercise and maintaining strong bones through adequate calcium and vitamin D intake can help decrease the risk of severe fractures from falls.”

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic

Advertisements

How to Fight Hidden Causes of Inflammation

Len Canter wrote . . . . . . . . .

Tamping down inflammation is a must for people with a chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. But you can be exposed to damaging inflammation without having a specific medical condition.

Inflammation prevents the body from adequately reacting to stressors and puts the aging process on an unwanted fast track, increasing the likelihood of problems like heart disease. The negative effects of inflammation can be so significant that leading researchers from the University of Bologna in Italy coined the phrase inflamm-aging. So making anti-inflammation lifestyle choices is good for everyone.

How to Avoid Inflamm-aging

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet focusing on foods like fatty fish, fruits and vegetables. Keep in mind that sugar is highly inflammatory.
  • Get active with moderate cardio exercise. Remember: Good health guidelines call for 30 minutes a day on at least five days per week.
  • Lose excess weight, especially if you’re carrying those pounds around your middle.
  • Avoid exposure to all forms of secondhand smoke, and of course, if you smoke, quit.
  • Limit alcohol to one drink per day if you’re a woman, two if you’re a man.
  • Clock seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Some people need more, others need less, but this is the sweet spot between not enough and too much.
  • Manage stress. Stress is often unavoidable, but you can minimize its effects with techniques like deep breathing and meditation.
  • Stay social with strong connections to friends and family.

Also, talk to your doctor about ways to boost heart health and any other steps appropriate to your needs to counter inflammation.

Source: HealthDay

Exercise May Be of Extra Benefit to People With Heart Disease

Regular exercise benefits heart disease patients more than healthy people, according to a new study.

It found that while stepping up physical activity reduced the risk of death for people with and without heart disease, those with heart disease had greatest benefit. The more they exercised, the more their risk dropped.

The study included nearly 442,000 people in South Korea who were followed for six years. They were older than 40 (average age: 60), and about one-third had heart disease.

“We found that approximately half of the people in the study did not reach the recommended level of leisure-time physical activity, and a quarter had a totally sedentary lifestyle. People with cardiovascular disease had lower levels of physical activity than those without, but the more exercise people did, the lower their risk of death during the six years of follow-up,” said study leader Dr. Sang-Woo Jeong, a cardiologist at Seoul National University in South Korea.

By the end of the follow-up period, researchers found that for every 500 MET-minutes a week of physical activity they logged, the risk of death dropped 14% in heart disease patients and by 7% in others.

MET-minutes/week (metabolic equivalent task minutes per week) is a measure of physical activity. And 500 MET-minutes/week represents the recommendation for healthy adults of all ages to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate or 75 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination.

Among people without heart disease, those who were inactive had a 27% higher risk of death than those with the most physical activity (1,500 MET-minutes/week or more, or the equivalent of brisk walking for 30 minutes five times a week plus climbing hills for 2.5 hours a week). Those who did up to 499 MET minutes/week of exercise had an 8% higher risk of death than those with the highest amounts of physical activity.

Among heart disease patients, the greatest reduction in death risk was seen in those who did up to 499 MET-minutes/week, but the risk continued to fall for those who did more.

Compared to people without heart disease who did the most exercise, the risk of death was 87% higher among heart disease patients who did not exercise; 45% higher among heart disease patients who did up to 499 MET-minutes/week; and 14% higher among heart disease patients who did 1,000 MET-minutes/week or more.

The study was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Paris, and published the same day in the European Heart Journal.

“The main new finding of this study is that people with cardiovascular disease benefit from a physically active lifestyle to a greater extent than healthy people without cardiovascular disease,” Jeong said in a meeting news release.

Source: HealthDay

Study: Even Age 80 Is Not Too Late to Begin Exercising

Even seniors who never exercised regularly can benefit from a workout program, researchers say.

A new study found that men in their 70s and 80s who had never followed an exercise regimen could build muscle mass as well as “master athletes” — those of the same age who had worked out throughout their lives and still competed at the top levels of their sports.

The U.K. researchers took muscle biopsies from both groups in the 48 hours before and after a single weight-training session on an exercise machine. The men were also given an isotope tracer before the workout in order to track how proteins were developing in their muscles.

It was expected that the master athletes would be better able to build muscle during exercise, but both groups had an equal capacity to do so, the University of Birmingham team found.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

“Our study clearly shows that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start,” lead researcher Leigh Breen said in a university news release. He’s a senior lecturer in exercise physiology and metabolism.

“Obviously a long-term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness,” Breen said.

Current public health advice about strength training for older people tends to be “quite vague,” he noted.

“What’s needed is more specific guidance on how individuals can improve their muscle strength, even outside of a gym-setting through activities undertaken in their homes — activities such as gardening, walking up and down stairs, or lifting up a shopping bag can all help if undertaken as part of a regular exercise regimen,” Breen said.

Source : University of Birmingham


Today’s Comic

Physical Activity at Any Intensity Linked to Lower Risk of Early Death

Clear evidence that higher levels of physical activity — regardless of intensity — are associated with a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people, is published by The BMJ today.

The findings also show that being sedentary, for example sitting still, for 9.5 hours or more a day (excluding sleeping time) is associated with an increased risk of death.

Previous studies have repeatedly suggested that sedentary behaviour is bad and physical activity is good for health and long life.

Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, but are based mainly on self reported activity, which is often imprecise. So exactly how much activity (and at what intensity) is needed to protect health remains unclear.

To explore this further, researchers led by Professor Ulf Ekelund at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo analysed observational studies assessing physical activity and sedentary time with death (“all cause mortality”).

Studies used accelerometers (a wearable device that tracks the volume and intensity of activity during waking hours) to measure total activity in counts per minute (cpm) of wear time. Intensity is usually separated into light, moderate and vigorous — and the time in these intensities is then estimated.

Examples of light intensity activity includes walking slowly or light tasks such as cooking or washing dishes. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, vacuuming or mowing the lawn, while vigorous activity includes jogging, carrying heavy loads or digging.

Data from eight high quality studies involving 36,383 adults aged at least 40 years (average age 62) were included. Activity levels were categorised into quarters, from least to most active, and participants were tracked for an average of 5.8 years.

During follow-up, 2149 (5.9%) participants died. After adjusting for potentially influential factors, the researchers found that any level of physical activity, regardless of intensity, was associated with a substantially lower risk of death.

Deaths fell steeply as total activity increased up to a plateau at 300 cpm, similar to the average activity levels in a population-based sample of US men and about 10-15% lower than that observed in Scandinavian men and women.

A similarly steep decrease in deaths occurred with increasing duration of light physical activity up to a plateau of about 300 minutes (5 hours) per day and of moderate intensity physical activity of about 24 minutes per day.

The largest reduction in risk of death (about 60-70%) was between the first quarter (least active) and the fourth quarter (most active), with approximately five times more deaths in those being inactive compared with those most active. This strengthens the view that any physical activity is beneficial and likely achievable for large segments of the population say the researchers.

In contrast, spending 9.5 hours or more each day sedentary was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of death.

The researchers point to some limitations. For example, all studies were conducted in the US and western Europe, and included adults who were at least 40 years old, so findings may not apply to other populations or to younger people.

Nevertheless, they say the large sample size and device based measures of sedentary time and physical activity provide more precise results than previous studies.

As such, they say their results provide important data for informing public health recommendations, and suggest that the public health message might simply be “sit less and move more and more often.”

These findings are important and easy to interpret, say researchers in a linked editorial. However, questions remain, particularly over whether the effect of physical activity continues above a certain threshold.

They acknowledge that increasing activity at the population level is challenging, but say walking is one promising target for intervention, as it is simple, affordable (free), achievable even for older adults, and rarely contraindicated.

“Developing ways to limit sedentary time and increase activity at any level could considerably improve health and reduce mortality,” they conclude.

Source: Science Daily