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Exercise for strong bones

Weak bones or osteopenia can occur in women over the age of 65 years

Dr Gita Mathai   |     |   Published 13.01.21, 03:09 AM

My mother as well as my grandmother had fractures of the hip. I am told they had “weak bones”. I am scared that I will get it too.

Weak bones or osteopenia can occur in women over the age of 65 years. You can get your bone mineral density, Vitamin D, phosphorous and calcium levels checked. If they are low, then replacement therapy will help to strengthen bones and prevent fractures. For vitamin and calcium supplements to enter the bones, regular aerobic exercise is essential.

Rest or exercise?

I developed pain in my right knee joint. My friends told me to take rest, but my doctor has prescribed exercises.

Your knee joint has four bones that glide and slide on each other. They are held in place by ligaments and muscles. If you keep taking rest, the muscles will waste away. If you do specific exercises to strengthen the muscles, they will hold the bones firmly in place and reduce the pain.

Prostrate problem

I have an enlarged prostate. It is non-cancerous. I was started on medication, but I still have frequent urination, especially at night.

The tablets will take a few weeks to work. In the meantime, you can reduce your fluid intake after 6pm. Also, you can practise “double voiding”. This means passing urine, waiting a few minutes in the restroom and then voiding again. Your alternative to medication is surgery. You and your doctor have to take a decision.

Mutation danger

I read that the coronavirus has changed and now it is more dangerous. Is this true?

The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has mutated to form a slightly different strain. It is more contagious, so that exposed people are more likely to get the infection. So far, it has not been seen to cause more deaths. Since the vaccine targets the spike protein on the surface of the virus, it seems to be effective against both strains.

You still will need to use a mask and maintain social distancing.

Pregnancy risk

My wife is eight months pregnant. She has a coronavirus infection. She is not too ill, so we home quarantined. She has a poor appetite. Is she likely to infect the baby?

The good news is that the coronavirus infection does not pass on to the baby. You don’t have to worry.

Diet dos

I have gastroesophageal reflux disease (Gerd). I am taking tablets for it but I don’t want to take them long-term as I know all medication has side effects.

There are some dietary modifications you could try. First thing in the morning, take 30ml (1 tablespoon) of curd on an empty stomach. Reduce caffeine intake (tea and coffee). Do not have a heavy dinner. Do not lie down for at least an hour after a heavy meal. Do not discontinue the medication without the doctor’s permission even if you feel better.

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and the author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues please write to


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