As we get older, bone health becomes a serious concern. This is because, over time, our bones become weaker, which increases our risk of fracture and disability. It’s even more detrimental for seniors because disability and other injuries can negatively affect a person’s quality of life.
The problem is that bone weakness and damage can occur without many signs or symptoms. By the time a person sees their doctor, the damage may be too far gone. But there are a few signs and symptoms you can look out for to determine whether your bones are in trouble.
Below you will uncover four signs and symptoms that indicate a bone problem and should prompt you to see your doctor right away.
Chipping fingernails: Breaking a nail isn’t just annoying, it can be a sign that your bones are in trouble. Frequent fingernail chipping has been linked to low collagen levels, according to research findings. Collagen is a protein that strengthens nails and bones. So, if your nails chip easily, you could have low collagen and by extension, weaker bones.
Another thing to look for in your nails are vertical ridges, which indicate a lack of calcium. As you know, calcium is essential for strong bones. If your nails are looking bumpy, then you may need to ramp up your calcium (always remember to speak to your doctor about taking calcium, as studies have linked it to poor heart health).
Receding gums: Your jaw is a bone that is intended to keep teeth locked and anchored in. Just like any other bone in your body, it is susceptible to weakening. When your jaw bone weakens, it can result in receding gums, causing them to detach from your teeth. When this worsens, it can lead to tooth loss. This reinforces the importance of seeing your dentist regularly because they can detect changes to your oral health quicker than you. So, if your dentist has raised concerns about receding gums or tooth loss, you may want to dig deeper and visit your doctor to have your bones checked.
Weak grip: Are you finding it difficult to get a good grip on objects? This is another sign of bone troubles. Research has shown a correlation between handgrip strength and bone density in a person’s forearm, spine, and hip. The study found that women with a weaker handgrip had frailer bones in these key areas.
Racing heart: A healthy individual at rest will experience 60 to 100 beats per minute. Studies have found a correlation between a racing heart rate (over 80 beats per minute) with a higher risk of hip, spine, and pelvic fractures. But what does the heart have to do with your bones? Well, a lower resting heart rate is associated with a higher fitness level. Exercise is known to support healthy bones. Therefore, a person with a low fitness level and higher heart rate essentially has weaker bones as a result.
Experts suggest that weight-training exercises are ideal to promote strong bones along with improving resting heart rate.
Aside from a family history of osteoporosis and ensuring you are getting adequate levels of calcium, paying close attention to these signs and symptoms will offer you valuable insight on whether or not your bones are healthy.