Osteoporosis primarily is a disease that affects the bones. Being diagnosed with this disease would mean that the bones have become thin and brittle, so that even a fall or mild stress like bending to lift weights or bouts of coughing can cause fractures. The bones become weak and easy to break. Osteoporosis can lead to broken or fractured bones in the hip, spine and wrist.
Bone is a living tissue and is constantly being absorbed and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the development of new bones does not keep pace with the removal of old bones. Osteoporosis affects millions of older men and women, but it is more common in women, especially those who are past menopause.
What are the Causes of Osteoporosis?
A lack of bone strength or bone density causes osteoporosis. Bone naturally gets thinner as you get older. However, there are numerous other risk factors that can lead to osteoporosis. Some risk factors are things you cannot change whereas others you can eliminate to avoid the onset of bone thinning.
Risk factors you cannot change:
- Your age. As you grow older your risk for osteoporosis also increases
- If you are a woman who is going through menopause. The body after menopause produces less estrogen which protects the body from bone loss
- You are at a greater risk if osteoporosis runs in your family
- If you have a slender body frame
- People of European and Asian descents are at a greater risk of osteoporosis
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Deficiency of calcium and vitamin D in diet
Usually there are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. So osteoporosis can become very advanced before it is noticed or diagnosed. Some of the signs and symptoms are:
Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
Loss of height over time
A stooped posture
Bone fractures that occurs much more easily than expected
What are the Treatment Options for Osteoporosis?
Treatment for osteoporosis will include medicine that will reduce bone loss and build bone thickness. Medicines will also provide you relief from pain caused by fractures or other changes to your bones. It is crucial to get enough calcium and vitamin D and take prescribed medicine for the disease. To build strong and healthy bones, adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is vital.
You can also slow osteoporosis by making healthy lifestyle changes such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Getting plenty of exercise like walking, jogging, dancing and lifting weights that will help in strengthen your bones.
- Eating a healthy mix of food that include calcium and vitamin D