Ima-Edonwonyi: To avoid weak bones, keep them healthy

BoneBone is an active tissue composed of different types of bone cells. The bone allows mobility and offer support for the body. If it is not in good shape, then there will be problems, which could lead to weakness of the bone and other bone related diseases. In this interview with GERALDINE AKUTU, Dr. Uyi Ima-Edomwonyi, a Rheumatologist at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, enlightens on the bone, how to care for it.

Briefly enlighten on the role bone play in the body
Our bones are what help us carry out several important activities, as they protect vital organs and support the rest of the body. For example, without the bones, we cannot move from place to place, to get food or stand. Again, without them, vital organs of the body like the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, etc, are exposed to physical damage. Our muscles, which help move our limbs, are also supported by the bones or skeletal system.

What causes weak bones and other bone related diseases?
It is commonly thought that weak bones are not common among black Africans, because of our exposure to lots of sunlight, which helps us develop strong bones. This is done because of the Vitamin D that our skin produces, using the sunlight.

That said, however, weak bones do occur amongst Africans, though usually in older people, because after the age of about 30 years, the strength of our bones weaken gradually over time. This is seen especially in women, after menopause because of the loss of certain hormones that help bone strength.

People, who have chronic illnesses, tend to develop weak bones faster, especially when they are inactive and on some medications that may weaken the bones. Usually, doctors will give medication to prevent this effect. People who are very thin are also prone to weak bones.

Why it is necessary to keep bones in good shape
It is necessary to keep the bones healthy because when they are weak they can break more easily than normal such that physical trauma, like a small fall, which ordinarily would be harmless, can cause the bone to break. Again, weak backbones can cause someone to become shorter because of the shortened length of the weak bone. If severe, it can cause damage to the spinal cord.

How can bone weakness be prevented?
It can be prevented by eating foods that contain calcium, exercise, and in the presence of chronic illness or old age, calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Give few tips on healthy lifestyle for having strong bones
Avoid smoking and excess alcohol. These predispose to weak bones. Eat healthy foods, especially foods rich in calcium. Exercise regularly. Avoid excessive weight loss that makes one too thin.

In this article:
Dr. Uyi Ima-Edomwonyi
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