As we age, so do our bones. One condition that we are susceptible to is osteoporosis. Here is an explanation of the condition and how you will know if you have it.
Osteoporosis occurs when the bones become brittle due to lack of proper levels of calcium. It can affect men and women but mostly affects women. When the bones lose calcium, they are not stable enough to take the pounding that we give them each day. The bones lose density and can be easily broken.
Instead of breaking completely, the bone usually fractures. The most common fractures occur in the hip, spine and the wrist. The hip and wrist result from falls and trying to break a fall. Spinal fractures can cause you to lose height and bend over as if you have a hump in your back.
The problem with osteoporosis is that everyday mishaps can lead to dangerous fractures. A fall that might normally result in a bruise and nothing else, causes a fracture that is hard to recover from.
Osteoporosis is thought of as a woman’s condition because women are the primary sufferers. During menopause, the levels of estrogen in the body are greatly reduced. Estrogen seems to play a part in keeping levels of calcium in the bones high. A diet low in calcium doesn’t supply the bones with what they need to stay strong. When other body processes need calcium they can rob it from the bones.
Some people are at greater risk for osteoporosis than others:
- Caucasian or Asian race
- Small body frame
- History of osteoporosis in your family
- Poor diet
- Poor health
- Lack of vitamin D
- Thyroid issues
If you have experienced painful bone fractures and have any of these risk factors present, it is time to see your doctor. Osteoporosis could be the reason for your trouble. The doctor may suggest a bone density scan.
This scan is used to test the density of your bones. It is advised for women who are postmenopausal and over 65 and women experiencing bone fractures. The results may dictate the course of treatment for you.
A common treatment is medication. There are many new medications on the market that are designed to halt bone loss and also to improve bone density and strength. One medicine, Boniva, only has to be taken once a month.
There are other changes you can make to help the medicine work more efficiently. Your lifestyle choices could be adding to your bone loss. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D from foods will ensure that you have enough calcium in your bones to keep them strong. Regular exercise helps to build bone also.
Are you at risk for osteoporosis? Get help now so that you don’t have to deal with painful fractures.