Osteoporosis is a disease of bones wherein, increased bone weakness can lead to broken bone, i.e., bones become so weak that they may break even from a fall or, in some rare cases, from sneezing or bumps.
The bone tissue renews itself, and a healthy bone replaces the old, damaged bone, and the body maintains its bone density.
In osteoporosis, the bone density decreases and the body stops producing as much bone as it did before, resulting in brittle and fragile bones. It can affect both men and women, but it is more likely to occur in women soon after menopause, because of the sudden decrease in estrogen levels, the hormone that protects against osteoporosis.
The condition is also called as a silent disease because no one feels the symptoms of bones getting weaker, and often remains undetected until after the bearer breaks a bone.
It is the most common type of bone disease which increases the risk of fractures, particularly of the hips, spine, and wrists. Common causes, leading to osteoporosis include aging, low body weight, low sex hormones or menopause, smoking, and some medications.
Often, there are no symptoms or outward signs, and a person may not know they have it until they experience a fracture after a minor incident, such as a fall, or even a cough or sneeze. However, once the bones are weakened, one may face symptoms which include:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra.
- Loss of height over time.
- A stooped posture.
- A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected.
Even though there are no clear indications, the osteoporotic fracture can occur in situations where people would not expect to break a bone; they are therefore regarded as fragility fractures, and occur in the vertebral column, rib, hip, and wrist.
Prevention is better than cure, healthy nutrition and exercise can help to maintain bone health throughout life. One can look for following as a preventive lifestyle for osteoporosis:
Protein is one of the building blocks of bone. Foods such as soy, nuts, legumes, and dairy and eggs help provide the necessary amount of protein to the body.
Being underweight or overweight increases the chance of bone loss and fractures in your arm and wrist. Therefore, maintaining appropriate body weight is good for bones just as it is for overall health.
Men should increase their calcium intake as soon as they cross 60 and women after menopause. Pick food items that make a good source of calcium like, Low-fat dairy products, green leafy vegetables, soy products such as tofu, cereals, and others.
One can even consider calcium supplements, but only if and as prescribed by the doctor, excessive intake of calcium supplements can generate kidney stones.
Vitamin D improves your body’s ability to absorb calcium and bone health in other ways. Again, supplements can help if and as prescribed by the doctor.
Exercise can help one build strong bones. Prepare an exercise routine by combining strength training, weight-bearing and balance exercises.
Strength training and weight-bearing exercises help such as walking, jogging, running, stair climbing, skipping, help to strengthen the muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine.
For people detected with osteoporosis, primary treatment includes slowing down or preventing the development of osteoporosis.
Besides, maintaining a healthy bone mineral density and bone mass through diet and drugs, prevent fractures, and maximise the person’s ability to continue with their daily life.
It is done through a preventive lifestyle and the use of supplements, and drugs recommended by the doctor.