Osteoporosis is one of the most common bone disease. It is a disease in which bones become brittle and fragile due to low bone mass and bone tissue loss. This increases your risk of fractures, especially in hips, wrists and spine.
Major Causes of Osteoporosis
Bone is a non-static part of a human body, it is constantly being broken down (the process is called resorption) and formed throughout the lifetime of a person. During teenage, formation occurs more quickly than resorption while resorption slowly overtakes formation in individuals after 30.
Osteoporosis occurs when there is a strange imbalance between resorption and formation i.e. either formation occurs too slowly or resorption occurs too quickly.
There are numerous risks that are associated with the formation of osteoporosis in individuals.
Some of them are:
- Being a woman, especially in her menopause.
- Having Low bone density
- Being a Caucasian or Asian
- Having heredity of fractures.
- Unhealthy habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
- Being anorexic
- Excessive deficiency in Calcium and Vitamin D.
- Lack of physical inactivity.
- Having low estrogen levels in females and testosterone in men.
- Long-term use of Glucocorticoids.
Signs Of Osteoporosis
Bone loss that develops slowly, leading to osteoporosis, does not cause any symptoms or outward signs.
As such, a patient may only discover that they have osteoporosis due to an unexpected fracture after a minor fall.
A slip or strain – or even a simple cough or sneeze – may result in a fracture. Typically, breaks occur in the hip, wrist, or in the spinal vertebrae.
Breaks in the spine can lead to altered posture, with compressed vertebrae creating the stooped appearance often seen in older people.
Treatment of osteoporosis
The risk of developing osteoporosis and/or incurring a fracture can be lowered by preventive lifestyle measures and drug treatments that protect against bone loss and encourage healthy bone mineralization.
Lifestyle measures that help to maintain a healthy bone mineral density and prevent fractures include:
- Ensuring adequate calcium intake (about 1,000-1,200 mg a day, with a higher amount needed by women over 50 and everyone over 70). Calcium is available in the diet or through supplements
- Ensuring adequate vitamin D status (doctors can help monitor this, and supplements may be necessary for anyone who is housebound, has very dark skin, little sun exposure, or who lives at a more northerly latitude; vitamin D is synthesized through the action of sunlight on skin, and is available in the diet through fortified foods, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver; the daily recommended amount is 600 international units, and 800 IU in men and women over 70)
- Stop smoking if applicable (this affects a number of factors, including reducing the growth of new bone and decreasing women’s estrogen levels)
- Drink alcohol only in moderation (elevated alcohol intake is also associated with other risk factors, such as poor nutrition and an increased risk of falls)
- Exercise – weight-bearing exercise, including simple walking, promotes healthy bone and strengthens support from muscles. Exercises such as yoga also promote posture and balance and so reduce the risk of falls and fractures.
For people who already have osteoporosis, nutrition, exercise and fall prevention play a key role in reducing risks and bone loss.