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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Benefits of Exercise - Combating Osteoporosis

Study: Exercise strengthens fight against osteoporosis

If you want to keep your bones healthy and cut the chances of developing osteoporosis, then get moving, researchers advise.

In a new report from the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) entitled "Move it or Lose it," experts contend that exercise is a great way to build and maintain bones and prevent fractures.

"Exercise builds strong muscles, which in turn builds strong bones," writes Dr. Helmut Minne, an osteopath and board member of the IOF. "Exercise also improves muscle control, balance and coordination, and reduces the risk of falling or suffering a fracture during a fall…So, let's mobilize our energy, let's build our bones, let's move!"

Osteoporosis results in the density and quality of bones being reduced, which in turn leads to weakness of the skeleton and increased risk of fracture. As many as one-third of women and one in five men over 50 suffer from the condition, higher incidence rates than for breast cancer and prostate cancer, the report notes.

Bones, like muscles, can grow or shrink, so not using them can lead to their deterioration, the report explains. That's why in addition to bone-building calcium, exercise is crucial to bone health.

"Recent studies have shown that in laying down the bone foundation that will serve for a lifetime, exercise is just as important as diet," the report says. "This is true throughout childhood and adolescence, but especially important around the growth spurt at puberty." The report notes that the amount of bone tissue girls accumulate between the ages of 11 to 13 is roughly equal to the amount lost during the 30 years following menopause.

So what types of exercise are bone friendly?

"Weight-bearing and high impact exercise is required to stimulate bone formation, (so) sports that involved lifting weights, running, sprinting, jumping and skipping are good," the report says, citing walking, jogging, dancing, tennis, volleyball and resistance training as useful forms of bone-building exercise.

While pointing out the benefits of these exercises, the study says more research into bone exercise is required. "There is an urgent need for further studies to improve our understanding of how and, specifically, which forms of exercise may help maintain bone mass and strength and thus help prevent fractures," the report says.

More information on osteoporosis

What is osteoporosis? - Osteoporosis is a thinning and weakening of the bones, usually associated with the aging process. Osteoporosis is a disease, often with no detectable symptoms.
Building and maintaining skeletal health - Factors involved in building and maintaining skeletal health are adequate nutrition and body weight, exposure to sex hormones at puberty, and physical activity.
What types of osteoporosis are there? - Osteoporosis can be classified in various ways based on diagnostic categories, etiology. Osteoporosis can be classified as either primary osteoporosis or secondary osteoporosis.
What causes osteoporosis? - Osteoporosis is related to the loss of bone mass that occurs as part of the natural process of aging. Osteoporosis results when there is excess bone loss without adequate replacement.
What are the risk factors for osteoporosis? - Many disorders are associated with increased risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is far more prevalent in women after menopause due to the loss of the hormone estrogen.
What're the risk factors for primary osteoporosis? - Risk factors for primary osteoporosis include age, gender, race, figure type, lifestyle, diet, and lack of sunlight.
What're the risk factors for secondary osteoporosis? - Risk factors for secondary osteoporosis include genetic disorders, hypogonadal states, endocrine disorders,hematologic disorders, nutritional deficiencies, drugs.
What are the consequences of osteoporosis? - Consequences due to osteoporosis are increased risk of fracture with minor trauma, frequency of traumatic events from lifting and bending impact.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis? - Patients with uncomplicated osteoporosis may be asymptomatic or may have pain in the bones or muscles, particularly of the back. Osteoporosis becomes apparent in dramatic fashion.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed? - The diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually made by your doctor using a combination of a complete medical history and physical examination.
What're the treatments for osteoporosis? - Treatment for osteoporosis includes eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, getting regular exercise, and taking medication to reduce bone loss and increase bone thickness.
What osteoporosis medications (drugs) are available? - Medications (drugs) to cure osteoporosis include bisphosphanates (Fosamax), calcitonin (Miacalcin), raloxifene, estrogen, and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
How to treat osteoporosis in men? - Alendronate and teriparatide have been approved to treat osteoporosis in men. Calcitonin may work in men, treatment with testosterone appears to increase bone density.
How to treat osteoporosis in women? - The non-hormonal bisphosphonate drugs, alendronate and risedronate prevent and treat postmenopausal osteoporosis. Raloxifene is approved for preventing and treating osteoporosis.
What lifestyle changes can help osteoporosis? - Alcohol consumption should also be kept within safe limits. Supplements of calcium plus vitamin D may help maintain bone density. Limiting sodium and avoiding junk food.
What osteoporosis exercises are suggested? - Exercise is very important for slowing the progression of osteoporosis. Taking regular exercise is the single most important action improve the strength of their bones.
What osteoporosis diet is suggested? - A good calcium intake is essential throughout life for healthy bones. Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium from the intestines. Reducing salt may be useful for osteoporosis patients.
What can be done to prevent osteoporosis? - For prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, patients should be encouraged to stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption and perform weight-bearing exercise.
Osteoporosis and calcium - Calcium could alter the physical-chemical properties of the bone mineral. The daily recommended dietary calcium intake varies by age, sex, and menopausal status.
Osteoporosis and magnesium - Magnesium supplementation is as important as calcium supplementation in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis and vitamin D - Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones to prevent osteoporosis.

Source: Yahoo Nutrition & Fitness;

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Heartsmart Top 10 'Super Foods'

The Heartsmart Top 10

While there’s no such thing as a “miracle food”, there are certain foods that everyone should try to eat more of – fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Terrific for heart health, they provide vitamins, beta carotene, lycopene, isoflavones, plant sterols, folic acid and fibre.

1) Broccoli. For vitamin C, beta carotene and folic acid.
2) Cantaloupe. For vitamins A and C and beta carotene.
3) Beans or legumes. For iron, folic acid fibre and plant sterols. Additional sources of plant sterols are polyunsaturated vegetable oils and enriched margarine.
4) Sweet potatoes. For vitamins A and C, beta carotene, potassium and fibre.
5) Salmon, tuna, rainbow trout. For omega-3 fatty acids.
6) Spinach, kale, swiss chard. For vitamins A and C, beta carotene, calcium, folic acid and fibre.
7) Oranges. For vitamin C, folic acid and fibre.
8) Tomatoes. For lycopene.
9) Whole grains and whole-grain breads and cereals. For vitamin B and fibre.
10) Soybeans and soy products. For B vitamins, isoflavones, fibre and plant sterols.

Lycopene and isoflavones are antioxidants found naturally in plants. A diet rich in antioxidants has been linked with decreased risk of heart disease. Plant sterols are naturally occurring compounds that can help manage cholesterol.

Source: Heartsmart Living