Bones are one of the most important organs of the body that are responsible for not only giving a structure but also protecting all the vital organ. However, what if the bone density is continuously decreasing due to pollution and climate change? It is an undeniable fact that a number of health problems are significantly rising due to pollutants that are adversely affecting the body. According to a study of Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), constant exposure to pollutants especially air pollution can lead to poor bone health, affecting the overall bone density leading to osteoporosis and other major bone diseases.
World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7 to make people aware about a specific health topic of concern in people worldwide. The theme for this year is 'Our planet, Our health'. In fact, Onlymyhealth has started a 'Focus of the month' campaign, in which we will be highlighting stories with insights from a number of experts on different topics every month. And, this month's focus will be 'Healthy Living'. With World Health Day 2022 around the corner, we spoke to Dr. Vishav Goyal, Consultant Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement Surgery, Manipal Hospital, Patiala, to know about the impact on evironmental factors on bone health and ways to cope up from it.
Impact of environmental factors on bone health
Osteoporosis is a serious condition in which the density and quality of the bone is reduced. Over time, this disease causes the bones to become brittle and fragile. As a result, a person suffering from this dangerous disease easily and constantly experiences fractures. At a global level, this disease is substantially responsible for other disease and its prevalence is expected to increase due to the rise in pollution. As several studies have suggested that our environment plays a major role in developing the structure of the bones, osteoporosis develops in people who are constantly exposed to certain toxins in the environment.
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The skull, teeth and internal bones may become less durable if a person is constantly exposed to these toxins. As air pollution is associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, experts suggest that the severity and progression of osteoporosis are directly associated with inflammation induced by air pollutants like particulate matter. These toxins may come from a natural source such as minerals in the water or molecules in the air. In other cases, certain toxins are developed through human sources, from the manufacture and use of products.
How to make bones stronger?
Though it is completely impossible to evade the risk of osteoporosis as pollution is on a constant rise and other physical factors also affect the bone. However, with a few lifestyle practices and dietary habits, it is possible to boost the overall bone health and reduce the risk of this critical condition. According to Dr. Vishav, these include:
1. Increased physical activity
It has been observed that, people who lead a sedentary life are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Increased physical activity helps in not only reducing the risk factors bust also help in loosing weight that can reduce the pressure on the bones.
2. Calcium rich diet
It is important to include calcium as part of the daily diet. Calcium plays a major role in boosting the bone health. Therefore, it is recommended to include green leafy vegetables and dairy products in the daily diet.
Also read: How Covid Pandemic Affected Bone Health Of School Children? Know Ways To Cope Up From An Expert
3. Avoid exposure to air pollutants
As pollution increases the risk of developing this condition, it is also recommended to avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants that can damage the lungs. One must install air purifiers to get rid of the indoor fumes that can contains toxins affecting the bones. At the same time, it is also advised to always wear a mask before stepping out of the house.