Osteoporosis is often thought to be a condition found only in women; however, men are also victims of this condition. Worldwide there are 200 million people estimated with this ailment and approximately 54 million of them are in the United States. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. Over the age of 50, one in two women and one in four men will experience a fracture related to osteoporosis.
What is OSTEOPORSIS? Literally translated it is porous (porosis) bone (osteo). Think of it as a disease that wears away at the bones, weakening them to easily break, often in the hips and wrists. Up until age 30-ish, the body is building bones; after approximately the age of 35, the body cannot build up bone tissue fast enough. Those bones have the appearance of a sponge with “holes” that increase in size as we age. With osteoporosis, the holes widen more quickly, thus weakening the bone. There is no current cure and bones may become more fragile as the disease progresses. A fall, sudden movement, or accident causing a fracture can be debilitating to anyone with the disease.
Contributing factors for developing osteoporosis may be any of a multitude of reasons; some can be avoided while others cannot be controlled:
- Petite/small frames
- Overactive thyroid
- High salt diet
- Lack of exercise
Are there symptoms? Not always. Some people may develop the disease long before a symptom appears. Others may notice losing height, back pain, stooped posture, or a bone fracture. Age is a factor as well, particularly in post-menopausal women.
What may be done to lessen chances of developing or worsening osteoporosis? Always consult with your physician prior to any changes in your daily routine. Here are some suggestions to discuss with your physician.
- Maintain a calcium rich diet (milk, salmon, kale, broccoli)
- Weight bearing and/or resistance exercise like walking and lifting
- Balance exercise like yoga and tai chi
- Vitamin supplements of Calcium and Vitamin D
- Hormone therapy
- Medications like Fosomax or Boniva
- Biologic injections
- Periodic bone scans
Osteoporosis can be serious. Take time to discuss this important health topic with your physician to learn more about how you can live your best life. Here are a couple links with more information:
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