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Protecting your bone health is easier than you think. Understand how diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can affect your bone mass.
Bones play many roles in the body — providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. While it’s important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too.
Why is bone health important?
Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.
How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.
What affects bone health?
A number of factors can affect bone health. For example:
The amount of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
Tobacco and alcohol use. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Gender. You’re at greater risk of osteoporosis if you’re a woman, because women have less bone tissue than do men.
Size. You’re also at risk if you’re extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you might have less bone mass to draw from as you age.
Age. Your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
Race and family history. You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent. In addition, having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk — especially if you also have a family history of fractures.
Hormone levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. Prolonged absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
Eating disorders and other conditions. People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss surgery and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and Cushing’s disease can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Certain medications. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that might increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital, and proton pump inhibitors.
What can I do to keep my bones healthy?
You can take a few simple steps to prevent or slow bone loss. For example:
Include plenty of calcium in your diet. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70.
Good sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor about supplements.
Pay attention to vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. For adults ages 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IUs a day for adults age 71 and older.
Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as tuna and sardines, egg yolks, and fortified milk. Sunlight also contributes to the body’s production of vitamin D. If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor about supplements.
Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, tennis and climbing stairs, can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.
Avoid substance abuse. Don’t smoke. Avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day.
Enlist your doctor’s help
If you’re concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, including a recent bone fracture, consult your doctor. He or she might recommend a bone density test. The results will help your doctor gauge your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss. By evaluating this information and your risk factors, your doctor can assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss.
10 Simple Steps That Will Help You Protect Your Kidneys, Before It’s Too Late!
Chronic kidney disease affects millions of people worldwide, radically curtailing their quality of life, with the threat of dialysis or transplantation hanging over their heads.
1. Eat Yoghurt Every Day
Yoghurt contains probiotics (good bacteria) that help your kidneys process waste materials and improve your overall digestive health.
2. Drink Plenty Of Water
Consuming plenty of water and other fluids helps the kidneys clear the sodium, urea and other toxins from the body in a healthy manner. It keeps both the kidneys and the rest of the body healthy.
3. Take Only Kidney-Safe Drugs
Excessive consumption of over-the-counter pills, painkillers and analgesics such as Ibuprofen is not healthy. Some of these drugs can harm the kidneys if consumed on a regular basis. If you have arthritis or a similarly painful condition that requires you to take painkillers frequently, make sure your doctor prescribes your drugs, and not your chemist.
4. Lower Your Phosphorus Intake
If the kidneys aren’t working properly, phosphorus accumulates in the body, causing potentially serious conditions such as bone and heart disorders, and calcification (hardening) of tissues. Avoid consuming products with a high phosphorus content, like carbonated soft drinks and processed foods. You only need 800 – 1,200 mg of phosphorus per day; the extra amount is flushed from the body by healthy kidneys.
5. Eat Healthy
Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can prevent multiple diseases. Cut down on processed and packaged foods and eat light and fresh. This will also help you avoid foods that are rich in empty calories and reduce your salt intake. If necessary, consult a dietitian about adopting a kidney-friendly diet.
6. Quit Your Harmful Habits
Excessive drinking doesn’t just damage your liver; it also harms your kidneys. Similarly, excessive smoking doesn’t just affect your lungs, but your kidneys as well.
7. Know Your Family Medical History
Awareness can help you be more prepared. Talk to a doctor about whether your family history puts you at a greater risk and what preventive steps you should take in case your parents or relatives have kidney disease. If you are at a greater risk, make sure you get your renal functions tested to know how healthy your kidneys are. Often, people who have no symptoms discover that they have renal disease.
8. Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Under Control
Having diabetes compounds your chances of developing kidney disease. A large number of diabetic patients suffer from kidney failure and need dialysis or organ transplants. It is therefore important that you keep your blood sugar levels under control. It is also important for people with diabetes to get regular kidney function tests to detect any anomalies early. Kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented if it is detected in time.
9. Manage Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension not only increases your chances of getting a stroke and cardiovascular disease, but it also increases your risk of developing kidney disease. The risk is multiplied if you suffer from diabetes as well. If you have a family history of hypertension and kidney disease, keep a strict check on your blood pressure. Manage it by living a healthy life and strictly adhering to advised medication. Maintain your cholesterol levels.
10. Live An Active Life
Lack of physical activity is the root cause of a large number of lifestyle diseases. Leading sedentary lives makes us more prone to developing hypertension, heart disease, obesity and even diabetes. Pre-diabetics, who are at an increased risk of turning diabetic, can control their blood sugar levels by exercising every day for half an hour. Exercising also helps keep your cholesterol, blood pressure and weight under control. Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, which are major risk factors for kidney disease.
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These 11 Tips Can Help Make Your Pregnancy A Little More Comfortable For You
Pregnancy is amazing, wondrous, uncomfortable, beautiful, incredible, uncomfortable, joyous, and did we mention uncomfortable? Here are 11 things you can do to make those nine months a little more bearable.
1. Take a warm bath every night before you go to bed.
This will soothe your aching muscles and joints and help you get better sleep.
2. Invest in a body pillow.
Also known as a maternity pillow and a prenatal pillow, this C-shaped pillow is available online and at some maternity stores. It will make it a lot easier for you to sleep at night and prevent your back and hips from hurting in the morning. As you get bigger, you won’t be able to sleep on your back and so you’ll have no choice but to sleep on your side. A body pillow will make that much easier.
3. Set up a chair with a footrest.
Find a comfortable chair in your living room, preferably one that lets you lean backward. Put a foot stool in front of it, so that you can recline backward in the chair and prop your feet up on the stool. The more time you spend on your feet during pregnancy, the more uncomfortable you get. Putting your feet up will ease the discomfort and prevent swelling and other circulatory problems.
4. Wear nice maternity clothes.
Pregnancy takes a major toll on your self-esteem when it comes to the body image department. So, instead of wearing boring, frumpy clothes, cheer yourself up by wearing nice clothes that make you feel good about yourself. If you’re worried about the cost, look for styles that convert into nursing wear after you’ve had the baby. That way, you’ll wear them for a couple years, so the investment will be worth it.
5. Avoid tight clothes.
Your circulation is already suffering, so the last thing you should do is make it worse by wearing tight and restrictive clothing. Opt for loose and comfortable clothes, in breathable fabrics if possible.
6. Opt for comfortable shoes that have lots of room.
Forget about your heels and tight sandals. Make it a point to wear really comfortable shoes, since your feet are going to bear the brunt of your discomfort. You might have to buy shoes that are one size bigger, since your feet will swell.
7. Make a rice bag.
Take an old pillowcase or a sock (depending on what size you want), fill it with rice and some cinnamon and either stitch it closed or tie it up very tightly. Whenever your back hurts, you can warm it up in the microwave or on a pan and apply it to your back for relief. It won’t be too hot and the scent of cinnamon is delicious.
8. Go for a swim.
If you have access to a pool, go for a swim as often as you can. Swimming is a form of cardio exercise that will strengthen your muscles, improve your circulation, and most importantly, relieve the weight that you’re carrying. It’s also very relaxing and therapeutic and will soothe your muscles and joints.
9. Get a back rub every night before you sleep.
Have your partner give you a back rub every night before you go to sleep. It will help relieve a lot of your discomfort and make it easier for you to fall asleep, while also giving you and your partner a chance to bond at the end of the day. If possible, try to massage towards the heart and not away from it. Using oil or lotion can also help prevent the stretch marks to some extent.
10. Avoid spicy foods and foods that cause gas.
Pregnancy makes you especially vulnerable to acidity and gas, so avoid spicy foods and foods that give you gas. As much as you may love them, the momentary pleasure of eating them is not worth the hours of discomfort you’ll have to face afterwards. Avoid eating right before you go to sleep.
11. Drink ice cold water often.
It will refresh you, while also cleansing your system and promoting the process of cell division by which the baby grows.
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Do you find yourself squinting and rubbing your eyes in irritation all the time? Due to increased exposure to computer screens and mobile phones, a lot of people have started experiencing blurred vision, itchiness and headaches due to eye strain.
Here are a few simple exercises to help you rejuvenate your eyes and reduce the strain.
Rub your hands together for about 10 to 15 seconds till they’re slightly warm, then place them upon your eyes. Don’t touch your eyeballs directly; instead just cup your hands lightly over your eyes.
2. Repeated blinking.
Blinking every three or four seconds helps reduce eye strain. We tend to blink less when we watch television or work on the computer, so blinking every few seconds can help your eyes rest
3. Focusing on a distant object.
Pick an object about six to 10 meters away from you, and focus on it for a few seconds without moving your head. This relaxes the ciliary muscles, which tend to be under a lot of stress.
4. Eye rolling
Roll your eyes, tracing as big a circle as possible. Do this about four times, then close your eyes, focus on your breathing and relax.
Regularly popping pills for a headache can make it worse, says a new study. What else can you do? Here are some suggest
WEAR YOUR HAIR DOWN
50 out of 93 women experienced a headache from wearing a ponytail. Plaits, chignons, tight-fitting hats and hair bands can all cause headaches if the hair is pulled back tight, straining the connective tissues in the scalp. If you have to tie your hair up for work or exercise, try to avoid the so-called Croydon face-lift effect.
GLUG PLENTY OF WATER
Simply drinking a big glass of water and waiting 10 minutes or rubbing the neck and temples for five minutes to relieve any tension is often sufficient to banish a headache.
DON’T BUY EXPENSIVE PAINKILLERS
Avoid painkillers that say ‘plus’ or ‘extra’. People choose them because they assume they will work faster, but they simply contain added ingredients like caffeine or codeine that might not be suitable for you. See your doctor if you’ve been taking paracetamol, aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for 15 days in a row.
SIT UP STRAIGHT
Slumping in your chair is the worst thing you can do if your head is pounding. When you slump forward in a C-shape, you tilt your head upwards, which can stretch your neck and pinch your nerves, making your headache worse. So, sit with your feet flat on the floor and keep your hips and knees facing forward.
AVOID HAM SANDWICHES
Ham contains tyramine (a natural substance in preserved foods) and nitrates, both of which increase blood flow to the brain and trigger pain. Tyramine is also found in foods that have been preserved, pickled, smoked, marinated or fermented. Cheese, chocolate and certain fruits like pineapple and bananas are also high in tyramine and/or food additives.
SNACK ON NUTS AND SEEDS
These are a great source of the mineral magnesium, which acts as a muscle relaxant. Depleted levels are linked with reduced blood flow to the brain and low blood sugar, which can trigger headaches. Researchers found that up to 50% of migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium. Other good sources of magnesium include fresh leafy, green vegetables, tomato puree, whole grains, beans, peas, potatoes, oats and yeast extract.
STAY CLEAR OF PERFUMES AND AIR FRESHENERS
Perfumes, aftershaves, strong-smelling soaps, air fresheners and household cleaners contain chemicals that activate nerve cells in the nose, which send signals to the brain. In some people, these nerve signals are strong enough to cause headaches. Open up the windows and use chemical-free sprays instead. Alternatively, you can fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of essential oil and spritz it around instead.
FOLLOW THE 20/20 RULE
Staring at a computer screen for too long can leave you with a headache, sore or tired eyes and even blurred vision. So, look up from your screen every 20 minutes and focus on something 20ft away for 20 seconds.
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