Facts About Osteoporosis
by Emily Brown King
Facts About Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that causes them to become weak and break more easily. Most often, the victims of osteoporosis are older women, but anyone of any age is susceptible. It is a frighteningly common disease and will cause half of all women to break a bone after the age of 50. For men, the chance is 25 percent.
Unfortunately, there are few symptoms of osteoporosis, and the disease can be present for years before you notice it. Most of the time, it isn't until a bone is broken that osteoporosis emerges as a possible cause. Fractures may even occur without your noticing right away. Fractures of the spine can cause chronic back pain and may cause the back to become curved. Many people even lose some of their height.
The most common causes of osteoporosis are age and gender. As stated above, older women are much more at risk to get the disease. However, other factors include the build of your body frame. People who are small-boned or petite may be more at risk. Certain ethnic groups that are more at risk are Asian and white people. As with many diseases, heredity also plays a role. If any of your parents or grandparents had osteoporosis, you will be more susceptible to it. Other lifestyle and nutritional habits can play a role in the development of osteoporosis. Cigarettes and alcohol can cause bone loss, making the bones weaker. A diet that is low in calcium and vitamin D makes bones more prone to breaking. Also, low estrogen levels in women and low testosterone in men can also play a role in the disease.
Fortunately, there are ways in which you can prevent osteoporosis and keep your bones healthy. Women are often advised to take a daily supplement of calcium in order to make up for any calcium that is missing in their diets. It is also important to take vitamin D with the calcium because it helps with the absorption. Some calcium can only be absorbed through diet, so it is important to eat a lot of food that contains it. Weight-bearing work-outs are also great for strengthening bones, so exercise is essential. Do things such as walking, jogging, lifting weights and playing tennis for the most benefit.
If you are concerned about your bone health, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will typically perform a physical exam and order a test that can check your bone density. A bone-density test can accurately diagnose osteoporosis and check the improvement of bones as treatment is conducted.
Most of the treatment methods are similar to the prevention methods. If treatment plans are followed, bone loss can actually be reversed. You may be recommended to increase the calcium and vitamin D in your diet, work on a regular exercise routine and quit smoking and drinking, if applicable. Your doctor will review your current prescription medications to assess whether any of these may be causing bone loss. In some cases, prescription medication for bone loss will be recommended.