Osteoporosis – What is it and some preventative measures

Written by Eric Ulchakere

January 11, 2016

What do know about Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a common disease of the bones. It occurs when you lose too much bone and synthesize a little of it. Due to which, your bones become too weak and may break from a minor fall even from simple actions, like bumping into furniture or sneezing.

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” If you look at healthy bone under a microscope, it will look like a honeycomb. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much bigger than that of healthy bone. This indicates your bones have lost mass or density and that the structure of your bone has become abnormal. Less dense bones are weaker and prone to fracture.

How much risk is there about getting the disease?
About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Studies suggest that about one in two women and one in four men of age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

So if you’re of age 50 or older you should be more conscious about your bones and have a bone density test regularly.

What can you do to avoid getting osteoporosis and live a healthy life?
Osteoporosis and resulting broken bones are not part of normal aging. You can do a lot to protect your bones throughout your whole life. You are never too young or too old to improve the health of your bones. Its prevention should begin in childhood. But it should not stop there. Now whatever is your age, the preventions and guidelines you adopt now can affect your bone health for the rest of your life. It is the time to take action now.

What can you do to protect your bones?
• Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well-balanced diet or supplements.
• Engage in regular exercise.
• Eat foods that are good for bone health, such as fruits and vegetables.
• Avoid smoking and alcohol.

How the exercise play its role in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis?
There are two types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Weight-bearing exercises include activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. Do a 30-minute session or multiple sessions spread out throughout the day. Muscle-strengthening exercises include activities where you move your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. They are also known as resistance exercises and includes lifting weights and using elastic exercise bands, lifting your own body weight, functional movements such as standing and rising up on your toes. Do muscle-strengthening exercises two to three days per week.

How Calcium and Vitamin D are important for your bones? And in how much amount they should be taken daily?
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential to building dense and strong bones when you are young and to keep them strong and healthy in old age.

The amount of calcium you need every day depends upon your age and sex. Woman of age 50 years of age or below needs 1000mg daily, where above 50 years of age needs 1200mg daily. Man of age 70 years of age or below needs 1000mg and of age above 70 years needs 1200mg daily.

Vitamin D plays a very important role in protecting your bones and your body needs it to absorb and assimilate calcium. Vitamin D locks up bones and prevents them from losing calcium and thus strength and density of the bone. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you may lose bone, have lower bone density, and you’re more likely to break bones as you age. Women and men under age 50 need 400-800 international units (IU) daily and age of 50 or older need 800-1,000 IU daily.

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