Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the density of the bones in your body, that results in the fragility of bone. As this condition evolves, it makes the bones more porous, almost sponge-like, which weakens the skeletal structure and results in frequent fracturing and breakage. Your bones are made up of calcium, collagen, and protein – together, giving bone density and strength. When you are suffering from osteoporosis, there is a deficiency, which increases the risk of breaking bones from minor injuries.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
This condition manifests itself when an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone resorption occurs. When you lack calcium, the main mineral needed for healthy bone formation, and you don’t get enough calcium via your diet – bone production suffers and your chances to get osteoporosis increases. Many people take calcium supplements (visit Consumer Health Review for more), but there are other contributing factors that play a part in the development of this skeletal condition and some people are more at risk than others.
- Women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men, particularly thinner and older women.
- Women/individuals who have family members that suffer from osteoporosis are at a greater risk.
- Women who have menstrual or menopausal problems are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
- Cigarette smoke, excessive alcohol consumption, eating disorders and inactive lifestyles are all risk factors.
Symptoms Of Osteoporosis
While there are generally no visible symptoms during the early stages of this condition, once your bones have weakened to a certain point you could experience; back pain, loss of height, postural problems, and frequent bone fractures.
When To Seek Help
If you are a woman that is past the age of menopause and you are experiencing constant pain in your neck, back, spine and hips – consult your medical professional and get screened for osteoporosis. It is a good idea to go for yearly bone density screening, as part of your annual check-up.
While there is no way that you can completely reverse the effects of osteoporosis, there are some ways in which you can maintain and manage the density of your bones. Diet changes, exercise, and some medications might be suggested by doctors.
Though it is said that the majority of women will develop some form of osteoporosis by the age of 60, there are certain steps that you can take to diminish your risk of getting this condition at every stage of life.
Invest in your children’s bone health and help them prevent osteoporosis by ensuring that they:
- Eat a balanced, nutritious diet that includes enough calcium.
- Eat the right amount of protein, not too much or too little.
- Get enough vitamin D and exposure to the sun.
- Get regular exercise.
- Avoid second-hand smoke.
As we age, our bone density decreases. This is why it is important to help your bones stay healthy by:
- Eating a calcium-rich, balanced diet.
- Seek help for eating disorders.
- Take vitamin D and calcium supplements.
- Get enough exercise and weight-training.
- Avoid smoking and heavy drinking.
Why Calcium And Vitamin D?
This essential mineral and vitamin are crucial for the building and maintenance of strong, dense bones. As the two most important nutrients for bone health, it is imperative that you consume and absorb enough of each to keep your bones healthier for longer. We lose calcium through our skin, hair, sweat, and urine every day of our lives – and as our bodies are unable to produce calcium, we need to eat enough calcium-rich food. You should have between 1000 – 1200 mg of calcium daily. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, this is why it is a vital nutrient for bone health. You should have 400 – 1000 IU of Vitamin D every day.
While osteoporosis is a very common condition that affects a large number of people in the world, it is a condition that you can work towards preventing. By starting at a young age, you can help your body by leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle that will keep your bones healthy and strong in the years to come.