It is generally thought that osteoporosis occurs as a disease in older people. However, it can in actual fact strike at any age.
There is a risk for millions of people. The disease is associated with women, but as a matter of fact, men also suffer from the condition. It true however, that women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
Osteoporosis is a disease whereby the bones become fragile and brittle, which leads to a high risk of breakages or cracking of the bones.
Osteoporosis can affect any bone. However the most common areas are the hip bones, spine, ribs, pelvis, upper arms and wrists.
There are generally no warning signs, symptoms or pain to indicate that an individual has osteoporosis, until the fracture occurs. These fractures can occur with a simple bump, strain or minor fall. It is for this reason that osteoporosis is very often referred to as the “silent disease”.
Changes in posture can be developed due to osteoporosis, such as a stoop in the back, weakness of the muscles, loss of height and bone deformity of the spine. Such fractures can lead to severe pain, disability, loss of independence and in serious cases, premature death.
An osteoporosis fracture is something that will be suffered by one in every two Caucasian women, and one in every eight men over the age of fifty years at some time in their remaining lifetime.
For women, in the first 5 to 7 years after menopause, it is possible to lose up to 20% of bone mass, which increases their chance of developing the disease.
The occurrence of osteoporosis happens when bones lose vital minerals, such as calcium, quicker than they can be replaced by the body, which leads to the loss of bone thickness. Due to this, the bones become thinner and lose their density. Therefore fractures can occur when having the slightest bump or accident.
Some of the other factors also include:
Having a thin or small frame,
Post menopause, including early or induced menopause,
A family history of the disease,
Low testosterone in men,
The excessive consumption of alcohol.
Osteoporosis is something which you are never to young to prepare yourself for.
The best foundation for prevention in later years is by building strong bones from early childhood and the teen years.
By the age of twenty, an average woman will have acquired 98% of her skeletal mass.
There are three fundamental steps that a person should begin to take at any age, in order to minimize the chances of developing osteoporosis.
The first step, and the most important, is to increase the intake of calcium. It is necessary for most individuals to have an intake of 1,000 to 1,300 mgs of calcium on a daily basis in order to build and maintain healthy bones. There are many different sources of calcium, including calcium supplements. The intake of calcium should also be combined with Vitamin D. This assists the body in absorbing and retaining calcium. Again, there are many different sources of this valuable nutrient available.
Second, it is essential to lead a healthy lifestyle, with no heavy alcohol consumption and no smoking.
And third, regular exercise should be undertaken. Studies show that physical activity can greatly help to prevent osteoporosis. The body will benefit from exercise such as jogging, hiking, swimming, racquet sports and even weight lifting. However, for those individuals that are advancing in years, it is advised to seek medical advice on the size of weights and intensity of the exercise routines, as there is a danger of over doing it, which may result in fractures, if the disease is already present in the body.
According to medical experts, bone mass can be increased by as much as 20% in women by the age of thirty, if following a balanced diet and regular exercise routines.
Measurements of bone density can be taken in various parts of the body without any pain, discomfort or invasive procedure. These tests will establish an individuals’ rate of bone density loss and monitor the effects on a regular basis, as well as detecting the disease before experiencing a related fracture.
If an individual assumes that they have osteoporosis, then it is advised to consult a medical advisor and request a bone density test.