According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the life expectancy of the average American is just under 78 years. Indeed, many people today are living a much longer life compared to past generations. Unfortunately, many also encounter a variety of age-related diseases as they approach their golden years. Two of the more notable ones include osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Current data shows that an estimated 53 million people in America have osteoporosis. Meanwhile, some 32 million have osteoarthritis. That being said, both of these conditions can affect joint mobility and bone health.
How the Human Skeleton and Joints Form and Evolve Through Life
To truly appreciate how osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can affect our health as we age, we should take a moment to familiarize ourselves with the skeletal system. Firstly, the human body has 206 bones that enable us to carry out a host of day-to-day functions, and these are bones that make up the skull, spine, ribs, arms, and legs. Cartilage and other connective tissue also work to cushion the joints in between these bones. And this is what enables us to move about without ever experiencing pain. Of course, things change when age-related bone diseases, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, for example, come into the picture.
In humans, bone growth starts in the womb when calcium is passed from a mother to her unborn child via the umbilical cord. After that, things get a little more complex. During early childhood and well into adolescence, our body uses human growth hormones (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) secreted by the pituitary gland and liver, respectively, to facilitate bone growth. Essentially, HGH and IGF-1 work in tandem to stimulate bone-resorbing and bone-forming cells, which leads to an increase in bone mass, not to mention the growth and development of cartilage and muscles. Although to a somewhat lesser extent, all of these processes continue to play out in adulthood.
Why Do Our Joints Hurt as We Age?
One of the downsides to getting older is that the body no longer functions the same as it did when we were younger. For example, when most individuals reach the age of 30, their pituitary gland naturally starts to secrete fewer human growth hormones. One of the side effects of having low human growth hormone levels is low bone density, a condition that can give way to osteoporosis and even bone fractures if left untreated. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some of the symptoms typical of osteoporosis include the following:
- Respiratory problems
- Lower back pain
- Height reduction
- Change in posture
As far as osteoarthritis is concerned, it is sadly another one of the many unfortunate aspects of aging. In short, osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by the degeneration of joint cartilage and, in many cases, underlying bone. That said, most people develop this condition when they are in their 40s. Along with pain, some of the more common symptoms synonymous with osteoarthritis include the following:
- Tender joints
- Reduced range of motion
- Muscle wasting and weakness
- Unusually large or knobbly joints
- Experiencing a grating or crackling sound or sensation while moving joints
Joint and Bone Health: What You Should Know
When most people think of the skeletal system, they tend to think only about bones. In reality, the skeletal system encompasses a whole lot more. Along with the periosteum, the skeletal system comprises both compact and spongy bones. It also includes cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and three different types of joints, immovable, partly movable, and movable joints. While bones do most of the work, joints and other connective tissues keep us from experiencing pain when we move our hands, fingers, legs, toes, and other limbs. For those not aware, in between our bones, there is cartilage, ligaments, and tendons that work together to keep bones from rubbing together and causing us pain when we move them.
What Causes Weak Bones and Fragility as We Age?
Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are the two primary causes of weak bones and fragility in most older adults. That said, let’s take a look at these two bone diseases individually. For those not aware, hormonal imbalances, such as HGH levels, can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis since it negatively affects bone density. Human Growth Hormone for sale is available in US only with official prescription. Meanwhile, osteoarthritis is a byproduct of repetitive strain that gradually breaks down the cartilage that would otherwise cushion bone joints.
Preventing Joint and Bone Problems
The single best thing someone can do to minimize the risk of developing bone or joint problems as they age is to consume a healthy, well-balanced diet. For example, a diet that includes plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as cheese, yogurt, sardines, salmon, and beans, not only keeps bones strong but also fends off osteoporosis. Exercising a few times per week can also help in this regard. Studies show that engaging in physical activity just a few times per week is more than enough to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures. Further, exercise also helps with osteoarthritis by making it easier to maintain a healthy weight, which leads to healthier joints. That said, some of the best exercises for improving bone and joint health include the following:
- Weight training
Along with consuming a healthy diet and exercising regularly, quitting smoking and cutting back on alcoholic beverages can further improve the overall health of one’s bones and joints. And for those struggling with osteoporosis due to low HGH levels, growth hormone replacement therapy can also be beneficial. This treatment modality involves using FDA-approved growth hormone replacement drugs, such as Saizen, Sogroyoa, and others, to boost low growth hormone levels in the blood. At the same time, they also help combat many of the symptoms synonymous with having low HGH levels, including low bone density, which often leads to osteoporosis if left untreated.
All in all, multiple things can take a toll on our bones and joints as we get older, but it doesn’t mean we have to relegate ourselves to life delineated by mobility issues or pain. Making a few lifestyle changes and seeking care from a licensed physician can speed relief from pain, stiffness, and so much more.