Do you know if your bones are healthy or not?
If you have any doubts, one way to asses your bone health is to get a bone density scan (DEXA).
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends all women age 65 and older and men age 70 and older take a bone density test. Unfortunately there’s a problem with this piece of advice. (1) Let me explain…
When you reach your mid-thirties you begin to lose 1% of your bone mineral density every year until death. That means that by the time you’re 65 and have a test, you will most likely already have osteoporosis!
Talk about too little too late.
So while the NOF recommends testing your bone mineral density very late in life, we believe you should learn to listen to your body as early as possible and not ignore its signs. (Not to mention getting a DEXA scan a little earlier!)
Here are four common signs and symptoms of early bone loss you can watch out for:
Sign #1: Your Height.
Have you gotten shorter? It’s normal to lose a little height as we age, but too much height loss is a warning sign of a spine fracture (a broken bone in your back). I’m sure you’re thinking, “I would notice if I broke a bone in my back,” but according to Osteoporosis Canada, you may not be aware of a broken bone in your back because 66% of these breaks are painless! (2)
Sign #2: Brittle fingernails.
The most common reasons for brittle fingernails is hormonal changes and nutrition. Women who are going through menopause have fluctuating estrogen levels that affect nail strength. Also, brittle nails can be caused by nutritional deficiencies so it’s important to maintain a balanced diet that is rich in protein, calcium, vitamin C and healthy fats. (3)
Sign #3: Receding gums.
Research suggests a link to osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. If your jaw bone is deteriorating, our gums follow suit and and begin to recede, giving you a major warning that something is wrong. (4)
Sign #4: Grip strength.
In a recent study, grip strength was an indicator of overall bone density. If your grip strength has weakened, it may be a sign that your bones are getting weaker as well. The study also found that people who exercise had a significant increase in grip strength over non-exercisers. This confirms other studies about exercise (especially weight-bearing) and its positive effect on bone density. (5)
One of the easiest ways to avoid osteoporosis and the associated horrors of bone fracture, is to pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Sadly, many of us ignore the signals our body sends. But you don’t have to. By listening to your body and watching out for these symptoms, you are already one step ahead when it comes to detecting osteoporosis.
Another step you can take is to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals required for bone health. To do so, we recommend eating a well-balanced diet and supplementing with a high-quality calcium such as AlgaeCal.
- ^ http://nof.org/news/171
- ^ https://www.osteoporosis.ca/multimedia/pdf/osteoporosis_month_2012.pdf
- ^ http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/brittle-nails.htm
- ^ http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Oral_Health/default.asp
- ^ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.5650090107/abstract