Bone and Joint Health

Bone and Joint Health

Keeping your bones and joints healthy is important, especially as you age. Broken bones heal more slowly as you get older. Joint pain can make everyday tasks more difficult and can affect your quality of life.

Better bone and joint health

Here are a few ways you may be able to maintain healthy bones and joints:

  • Eat well. Eating right can help keep your bones and joints healthy. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet is important for keeping your bones strong.
  • Exercise. Staying active can help prevent falls by improving muscle strength and balance. Certain types of exercise can also strengthen your bones. Check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.
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  • Limit smoking and alcohol consumption. Talk with your healthcare provider about alcohol and tobacco, if you use them. Smoking and excess alcohol consumption can lead to osteoporosis and related fractures.

Some of the bone and joint health conditions that could impact you as you get older are osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become thinner and weaker than normal. This can make them more likely to break. Broken bones (also called fractures) can be the first sign of osteoporosis.

If you are over 50 and break a bone, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested for osteoporosis.

Osteoarthritis

You can break a bone in a minor incident, like a minor fall or stepping the wrong way off of a curb. These kinds of incidents might seem like bad luck. But bones weakened by osteoporosis may be part of the cause.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint condition. In OA, the rubbery material that covers the end of each bone, called cartilage, breaks down. This causes pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint. OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back, neck, small joints of the fingers, and the bases of the thumb and big toe.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a specific type of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. RA happens when your immune system is overactive. The cause of RA is not fully known. Certain genes may make you more likely to have RA. Other factors may include smoking, infection, and hormones. RA has no cure, but it can be treated. If RA is left untreated, your joints may become severely damaged.

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