Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become weak and brittle. Bones become so brittle that a simple fall or even mild stresses, such as coughing or bending over can cause a fracture. Fractures often occur in the spine, wrist or hip. Bone is living tissue which is constantly being replaced and broken down.
This condition happens when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone. Osteoporosis can affect women as well as men of all races. However, Asian and white women, especially those who are past menopause, are at highest risk. Healthy diet, medications, and weight-bearing exercise can help strengthen already weak bones or prevent bone loss.
It is still unclear what is a specific cause of osteoporosis. However, some risk factors have been identified. Those risk factors include taking certain medications, unhealthy lifestyle choices, family history and advancing age.
The following symptoms are not typical in the early stages of bone loss. But, once osteoporosis weakens bones, you may have symptoms, such as a bone fracture which occurs much more easily than expected, a stooped posture, loss of height over time, and back pain which is caused by a fracture or collapsed vertebra.
Skeletal structure generally can’t be replaced once it is lost. However, many treatments for osteoporosis focus on retaining a current bone mass level. A few medical specialists can work together in order to treat osteoporosis. These include an orthopedic specialist and an endocrinologist. You doctor can prescribe estrogen replacement therapy if you are a woman, since a drop in estrogen production may lead to bone loss. This often happens after menopause. SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) are another similar treatment.
Bisphosphonates and calcitonin are other medications which can prevent bone loss. The same healthy habits which prevent this condition can also be helpful in treating it. It is recommended that you eat a healthy diet which is full of calcium and vitamin D. You should also engage in regular weight-bearing exercises. If you follow these healthy steps your bones can be maintained. It is important that you consult with your doctor before you start any treatment on your own.
Who is at risk?
This condition comes with many risk factors. Some of them can be controlled while others can’t. Risk factors which are within your control are excess amounts of caffeine, sodium and protein in your diet, lack of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet, smoking, lack of regular physical activity, excess alcohol consumption, long-term use of some medications like glucocorticoids and anticonvulsants, and lack of calcium and vitamin D in your daily diet.
On the other hand, risk factors which cannot be controlled are low body mass, history of broken bones, family history of osteoporosis, having already experienced menopause, history of age-related height loss, age older than 50, history of osteopenia, female gender, especially females of Asian or Caucasian origin, and history of hormone-related medical conditions like Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism.
It is recommended that you talk to your doctor about unique risk factors and your individual concerns for osteoporosis. You doctor can help you identify any medications which could be switched, if possible, of course. In addition, don’t stop medications or treatments without your doctor’s advice.
Prevention for this condition includes living a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and eating a bone-friendly diet. Make sure to eat enough of calcium and vitamin D. Both are nutrients which strengthen your bones. Women who are 50 years old or older should consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. Yogurt, milk and cheese are good sources of calcium. Exercise can stimulate growth of bone tissue. This is only true for weight-bearing exercises, such as jogging, hiking, dancing and lifting weights. Exercises, such as riding a bicycle and swimming, may not be as effective.