WHAT IS osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis has emerged as a common health problem which is mostly found in a woman. Osteoporosis is a bone-related disease, which results in the loss of bone mass. Because of this problem, bones become extremely weak or fragile and become susceptible to fracture. When an individual suffers from this disease, the bones start trailing its density and holes can be observed within the bones when an X-ray is done. Due to low density, the tissue structure also becomes abnormal. Women are more prone to this disease. As per research, one in two women and one in four men who are above the age of 50 suffer from loss of bone density.
Osteoporosis is a complicated disease and if timely attention is not given, a serious turn may occur permanently affecting the body structure. Joints are the most commonly affected areas of the body. This will mean your toes, knees, fingers and hips are at the greatest risk. If left untreated/unmanaged, osteoporosis will cause excruciating pain. Sudden and sharp weight loss is one of the common effects of the diseases. This can of course affect an individual’s overall health. Patients that are suffering from this disease won’t be able to move properly and can face other complications too. Bone mass or bone density starts decreasing after the age of 35 years, and loss of bone occurs very fast in women after they reach menopause stage.
Causes of osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis diagnosis may be complex, if you are unaware of the causes which are responsible for this health problem. Knowing the causes will help you take proper precautions to avoid developing osteoporosis.
- We already mentioned that women are the sufferers from this disease due to drop in oestrogen levels in the body after a certain age. Loss of bone density in women mainly occurs after menopause. During this time women experience a fast drop in oestrogen. This accelerates the chances of developing osteoporosis.
- Ovary removal surgery enhances the chance of developing osteoporosis, and complications like breaking bones and low bone density.
- Today, osteoporosis is largely a disease of the poor. This can be attributed to bad food habits and unbalanced diets. This causes poor nutrition and thus people suffer from osteoporosis.
- If a hormone imbalance is found in any man or woman, then there is a huge chance of getting attacked by this disease. Hormones always play a vital role in maintaining bone density within our body and this will help in using calcium present in bones effectively. In case there is a symptom of a high level of the thyroid, then this will also cause huge bone loss. In such cases, besides treatment of bone diseases, you need to go for thyroid treatment also.
- To keep bones strong, it is necessary that our body should intake enough vitamin D. A deficiency in vitamin D is bad for bone health, and may lead to breaking bones.
- Besides having enough vitamin D, it is also necessary that our body should absorb necessary amount of calcium. Calcium works to build new bone and to make the existing bones strong. But, in recent time a huge percentage of the global population is having brittle bones due to lack of calcium.
- If any individual is leading an inactive life then there is huge chance to have lack of bone density.
- If any person is taking medications like cortisone or prednisone, then there is a huge chance of occurrence of osteoporosis.
Symptoms of osteoporosis:
To be precise there is no specific symptom of osteoporosis which can be seen in the early stages of losing bone. But the moment the bones starts weakening due to osteoporosis, you will find the below signs and symptoms of this disease:
- Severe Back pain caused due to fracture or collapsing of vertebra
- Losing of body height with passage of time
- Having a stooped posture
- Having a bone fracture which occurred very easily than expected
Types of osteoporosis:
Basically, there are two types of osteoporosis which are known in medical researches dome so far:
- Type I osteoporosis or postmenopausal osteoporosis: This variety of osteoporosis is mostly found in women after they attain menopause stage when the level of estrogen present in the body starts decreasing.
- Type II osteoporosis or senile osteoporosis: This type of osteoporosis is faced by people after they cross the age of 70 years. Type II osteoporosis affects women twice as much as men.
What is Osteopenia? Osteopenia is a very similar condition like osteoporosis. Here the bone condition is defined as a state where there is a decrease of bone density which leads to weakening with an increased risk of facing a fracture.
Osteopenia VS Osteoporosis:
In most of the cases, many get confused between Osteopenia and osteoporosis. So let’s explain Osteopenia VS Osteoporosis. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are related conditions. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are having a hairline difference between them. In osteopenia, the loss of bone is not as much as in case of osteoporosis. An individual having osteopenia is more likely to face bone fracture or low bone density when compared to that of an individual with normal bone density. On the other hand, osteopenia patient is less likely to face a bone fracture when compared to someone having osteoporosis.
Who can treat osteoporosis?
So far we understood that this disease occurs due to multiple reasons. These reasons will differ from patient to patient. Depending on the way that the disease will present itself you may need to see a general practitioner (GP), a gynaecologist, a rheumatologist, an endocrinologist and perhaps an orthopedist. The general practitioner is usually the starting point. He/she will then recommend the type of specialist that you may need to see. This will be on a case by case basis.
How to prevent osteoporosis:
After getting the slightest indication that one is suffering from this disease, then it is must to visit the specialist and learn about how to take proper preventive measures for this disease. The first thing that one should take into consideration is to intake enough vitamin D and calcium. Both vitamin D and Calcium is necessary for maintaining the bone strength and keep people safe from breaking bones and loss of bone density.
As your specialist to recommend the best supplement so that your body can get proper nutrition and will not suffer due to lack of calcium. It is also suggested to carry on exercise on a daily basis so that the bone density can be maintained and bone can preserve calcium and other vitamins properly.
What types of food can prevent osteoporosis?
To prevent osteoporosis people should know the types of food that they should take. One should never neglect in taking enough calcium based foods. This mineral plays a vital role in maintaining the bone health. Foods which are big sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, dried figs, broccoli, almonds, etc. Besides taking these foods, one should also eat bread, war beans, grains, spinach, etc so that body can absorb enough calcium.
Natural ways to treat osteoporosis:
Once you notice the symptoms of osteoporosis, it is necessary to get your blood tested. This will help to assess whether you will face this disease in future or not. Get enough sunshine, so that body can absorb adequate vitamin D and can prevent osteoporosis. It is also necessary to take nutritional supplements to meet the requirements of nutrition of your body.
The need for bone density testing and how it is done:
Bone density testing is done for assessing the strength of your bones and also for measuring the probability of fracture when you are at risk of osteoporosis. The bone density screening test is also known as bone densitometry or bone mineral density scans (BMD). It is a simple yet noninvasive procedure which will take few minutes time for the test. The common test for this density check is dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan. Densities of hip and spine bones are tested with this method and also of wrist, heel, as well as a finger.
Calcium supplements which are good for osteoporosis and doses:
Different types of Calcium supplements are recommended by the specialists and National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Osteoporosis.
- Children in the age range of 1-10 years: 800 mg/day
- Men, women in premenopausal, and women in postmenopausal stage taking estrogen: 1,000 mg/day
- Teenagers as well as young adults in the age range of 11-24 years: 1,200 mg/day
- Women in postmenopausal stage and not taking estrogen: 1,500 mg/day
- Women who are pregnant and who are nursing mothers: 1,200 mg-1,500 mg/day
- The accumulated daily intake of calcium should not exceed the level of 2,000 mg.
How to calculate Daily calcium intake?
If you are a patient of bone diseases or osteoporosis and even if not, you must know about the tips to calculate the daily calcium intake.
Apart of dairy products, the average diet of a common man contains close to 250 mg of calcium.
- 8-ounce milk in the glass will contain minimum 300 mg of calcium
- 8 ounces of yogurt (Nonflavored) will contain minimum 450 mg of calcium.
- 1 cup full of cottage cheese will contain minimum 130 mg of calcium.
- 1 ounce of cheese (cheddar) will contain minimum 200 mg of calcium
- ½ cup of ice cream with pure Vanilla flavor will contain 90 mg of calcium
- 8 ounces of orange juice (calcium-fortified) will contain minimum 300 mg of calcium
Vitamin D intake for osteoporosis:
The required amount of calcium and vitamin D intake will create a strong foundation for maintenance of bone density and strength. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine mentioned the specific dose for Vitamin D
- Men and women who are above the age of 71 should intake 800 IU/day of Vitamin D
- Women in rest age group, men, as well as children should intake 600 IU/day of Vitamin D
- For infants who are under the age of 12 months should take 400 IU/day of Vitamin
Go for a diet which is having sufficient amount of Vitamin D and Calcium in it to protect you from osteoporosis. We will recommend you to stop or reduce to the minimal intake of alcohol to stay safe from the serious attack of osteoporosis.
Who are all more prone to osteoporosis? Anyone can become a victim of osteoporosis but still, there are specific categories of people who are more prone to it.
- People in Advanced age group: Who are above 65 years of age are most at risk from osteoporosis.
- Gender wise: Women are mostly at greater risk of losing bone faster than men and that is mostly due to menopause. Men too also remain at risk but when we check the population of men folk it forms only 20% of the patient who all are suffering from osteoporosis.
- Family history of osteoporosis: If anyone is having a family history of osteoporosis, like fracture on his or her mother’s side or mother with osteoporosis , or even personal history of bone fracture being an adult (after attaining the age of 45) he or she will be prone to osteoporosis and should take required precaution.
- Based on Race. Caucasian as well as Asian women as per medical research are prone to increased risk from osteoporosis.
- Type of Body: People who are at greater risk of osteoporosis are small-boned women having a weight which is less than that of 127 pounds.
The above are some of the important facts about Osteoporosis in women and how to deal with it. If required attention is given on time then can be a huge reduction in the number of women globally suffering from the problem of Osteoporosis.