Osteoporosis is a medical condition that effects the bones, it literally means ‘porous bones’ and causes them to become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue. It’s normally the result of hormone changes, or vitamin deficiency. With the condition, you are more prone to fracturing your bones and it does mainly affect older people but it can essentially affect any age range. There are certain measures an individual can take in order to prevent or delay the bone loss and in some cases medication may be suggested in order to restore some of the bone.
Women tend to lose bone matter a lot quicker than men, especially after the menopause when the hormone oestrogen which aids the protection of bone loss decreases. Although the condition is more prominent in women it does also affect men.
Why does it happen?
Bone is actually living tissue and new bone replaces old bone throughout your life, so your whole skeleton is replaced over a period of around 7 years. In your mid 20’s your bones are at their strongest and in your mid 30’s, they begin to become weaker and more fragile due to the completely normal development. With age, the special cells in your bones that help to build new bone cannot work as quickly as the cells that break down old bone. The stronger your bones are once you’ve reached your 30s, the longer it will take for bone loss to lead to osteoporosis.
The following are risk factors you have control over:
- Lack of calcium and vitamin D from foods.
- Not eating enough fruit and vegetables.
- Lack of exercise.
- Smoking and drinking excessively.
What is recommended to prevent bone ‘thinning’?
Getting older does make you more prone to developing certain conditions. Being aged 60 or above puts you at a higher risk of developing Osteoporosis so it’s important to learn how to manage the effects that come with the condition.
But first you should become aware of certain factors to prevent the condition from affecting you. Being mindful of your calcium and vitamin D intake is vital. You can increase your level of vitamins by eating more raw fruit and vegetables whenever possible as this will preserve the vital nutrients that your body needs. With vitamin D, you must ensure you are getting the optimum amount as too much can cause unwanted problems.
Even minor trauma such as coughing, knocks or falls can lead to fractures. Older people have slower response times and more often fall to the side, suffering direct impacts to the hip. External hip protectors significantly decrease hip fractures in people when worn at the time of the event. These are shells of propylene or polyethylene, which are designed to absorb part of the impact of falling and divert the energy toward the tissue around the hip.
Irrespective of age, bones and muscles need exercise to retain strength, improved balance, posture, coordination and muscle strength are the benefits that result from sustained weight-bearing exercise. Methods of identification of risk of osteoporosis followed by treatment have improved and here at Park Health we are happy to guide you in the right direction and for all your health needs.