Categorized | Anti-Aging

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The Effects of Aging on The Skeletal System

The most significant effect of aging on the skeletal system is the progressive reduction in bone density that occurs in both sexes from about the age of 50 and a tendency towards inflammation and degeneration of cartilage. There is evidence that suggests that women may start losing bone density from the age of 30 onwards, depending on lifestyle and diet. Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are conditions most commonly experienced by older people, and are related directly to bone density, joint inflammation due to degeneration of articular cartilage and a destructive collagen disease believed to have an autoimmune component. Both diet and exercise can have a significant improvement in bone density, and may impact positively on the incidence of the other two conditions.

Dietary calcium is highly recommended in the elderly as a supplement to help maintain an adequate calcium balance. In addition to extra dietary calcium, other dietary components, physical exercise and gender influence bone growth and aging. To minimize bone loss it is recommended that ample exercise be maintained, Calcium, Vitamin D and oestrogen be supplements in the diet. Avoid smoking and stomach antacids that contain aluminum; excesses in alcohol, caffeine, phosphates (for example carbonated beverages) cortico steroids, dietary fiber and dietary protein.

To reduce the incidence of fractures for those who have weakened bones from osteoporosis it is best to avoid heavy lifting and reduce falls or those situations where falls can occur. With the deterioration of joints, exercise is recommended as it slows the rate of stiffening and the rate of deceased range of movements. One of the unique features of the human body is that the more it is used, within reason, the better it works. Exercise is a preventative action against a multitude of diseases. Bones benefit greatly from physical activity with increased strength in the bones and exercises performed in weight bearing position such as bicycling, jogging and even walking stimulate the formation of new bone. Combined with adequate calcium intake exercise can prevent abnormal bone loss and osteoporosis.

Education and instruction are very important in the lifestyle education of the elderly. Many don’t know what constitutes a good exercise program to provide maximum benefit to the body. It is interesting to note too that those who remain physically active usually have a positive self image. There are many benefits to other parts of the body if an exercise program is followed. For example, the ability to cope with the stresses of life, such as financial loss or social support, loss of loved ones and loss of physical image. Coping mechanisms are very important and exercise is one of these.

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