How to manage Osteoporosis

Stay on your Feet; How to manage Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, or ‘porous’ bone, is a common bone disease characterized by low bone mass and the structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Both men and women are affected by osteoporosis. It is a disease that can be prevented and treated.


Smoking cessation if you have Osteoporosis
Management of osteoporosis
Exercise for Osteoporosis
Diet for Osteoporosis
Screening and diagnosis of Osteoporosis
When to seek medical advice about Osteoporosis
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Signs and symptoms of Osteoporosis
What are the risk factors for developing Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis; Management of osteoporosis; ;Exercise for Osteoporosis;Diet for Osteoporosis; diagnosis of Osteoporosis; medical advice about Osteoporosis;Causes Osteoporosis; ; symptoms of Osteoporosis; ; risk factors for developing Osteoporosis


How to manage Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease” because bone loss occurs without any symptoms. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men will have an Osteoporosis related fracture in their life time. Moreover, women near or past menopause who have sustained a fracture in the past are twice as likely to experience another fracture. As many as 20 percent of the people who break their hip because of Osteoporosis die within a year.

Its never too late-or too early-to do something about Osteoporosis. Everyone can take steps to keep their bones strong and healthy throughout their life.


What Causes Osteoporosis?

The strength of your bones depends on their mass and density. To maintain bone density and strength, the body needs a sufficient supply of calcium and other minerals, proper production of certain hormones that help to regulate bone cell function, and an adequate supply of vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption and normal bone formation.Bone is a dynamic, living tissue. Our bodies constantly build new bone and remove older bone. In child wood, more bone is built than removed, and so the bones grow in size. After the age of 30 or 40, however the cells that build new bone do not keep up with those that remove bone. The total amount of bone then decreases, and Osteoporosis may develop as a result.The average rate of bone loss in men and women who have not yet reached menopause is small. But after menopause, bone loss in women accelerates to an average of one to two percent a year.

This is because after menopause, the level of oestrogen (the female hormone) sharply decreases. Oestrogen helps the body’s bone-forming cells to keep, working and thus protects the skeleton. After menopause when the level of oestrogen decreases, some of this protection is lost.

The risk of developing Osteoporosis depends on how much bone mass you attained between ages 25 and 35 (peak bone mass) and how rapidly you lose it later. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank”, making you less susceptible to Osteoporosis, as you lose bone during normal aging.


What Causes Osteoporosis?

What are the risk factors for developing Osteoporosis?

Factors that will increase the risk of developing Osteoporosis are:

·                     Female gender

·                     Caucasian or asian race.

·                     Thin and small body frames.

·                     Family history of Osteoporosis (for example, having a mother with an Osteoporosis hip fracture doubles your risk of hip factor).

·                     Personal history of fractures as an adult.

·                     Cigarette smoking.

·                     Excessive alcohol consumption.

·                     Lack of exercise.

·                     Low calcium diet.

·                     Poor nutrition and poor general health.

·                     Mal absorption (nutrients are not properly absorbed from the gastrointestinal system).

·                     Low oestrogen levels (after menopause or with early surgical removal of both ovaries).

·                     Amenorrhea (loss of the menstrual cycle) in young women also causes low oestrogen and osteoporosis. Amenorrhea can occur in women who undergo extremely vigorous training, and in women with very low body fat.

·                     Chronic inflammation, due to diseases (such as rheumatois arthritis and chronic liver diseases).

·                     Immobility, such as after a stroke, or from any condition that interferes with walking.

·                     Hyperthyroidism: a condition caused by the thyroid gland producing excessive thyroid hormone. It is also caused by taking too much thyroid hormone medication.

·                     Hyperthyroidism: a disease wherein there is excessive parathyroid hormone production by the parathyroid gland (a small gland located near the thyroid gland).

·                     Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. When vitamin D is lacking, the body cannot absorb. Adequate amounts of calcium to prevent osteoporosis.

·                     Certain medications can also cause osteoporosis.

Signs and symptoms of Osteoporosis

There is usually no pain or symptom in the early stages of bone loss. But once the bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have signs and symptoms that include:

1.           Back pain.

2.           Loss of height over time, with an accompanying stooped posture.

3.           Fracture of the vertebrae, wrists, hips or the other bones.

Fractures of Osteoporosis

If the bones become very weak due to osteoporosis, fractures may occur from a minor fall, after lifting something heavy, and even just while walking or coughing. The fracture usually heals with treatment. But if osteoporosis progresses, more fractures may occur .

When fractures occur in the spine . The bones in the spine may shorten. These are called “compression fractures”, and people with severe osteoporosis may sustain two, three or even more. This is a common way older people lose height.

Spine fractures can also change the square-shaped bones of the spine to wedge-shaped. This can result in a stooped posture.

By the age of 80, nearly half of all women show a spinal fracture on an x-ray. Yet many cannot recall any injury or incident that would have caused the fracture.

Unfortunately, the joint surface alignment in the spine may become distorted, and the joints may therefore wear down. This can cause arthritis in the spine and pain. Surgery to deal with a fracture may be more difficult on osteoporosic bones, because thinner bones might be unable to hold devices such as rods and screws which may be necessary to repair the fracture, firmly.

When to seek medical advice about Osteoporosis

Early detection is important in osteoporosis. You may be able to slow the disease if you find out you have it, or prevent it if you discover you’re likely to develop it. Consider your risk factors, then discuss your risk with your doctor and plan your prevention strategy. If you’re a woman, it’s best to do this well before menopause.

Screening and diagnosis of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis may be diagnosed based upon patient and family history, physical examination, laboratory studies, and bone mineral density testing, doctors can detect early signs of osteoporosis using a variety of devices to measure bone density. The best screening test for osteoporosis is dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). This procedure is quick, simple and gives accurate results. It allows your doctor to measure the density of the bones in your spine, hip and wrist – the areas most likely to be affected by Osteoporosis – and to accurately follow changes in these bones over time. Although x-rays can also detect Osteoporosis, it can do so only after >30% damage is already done.


If you’re a woman, it is recommended that you have a bone density test if any of the following conditions apply to you, and you are not taking oestrogen:


·                     You use medications that can cause Osteoporosis

·                     You have type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes), liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of Osteoporosis.

·                     You experienced early menopause.

·                     You’re postmenopausal, older than 50, and have at least one risk factor for Osteoporosis.

·                     You’re postmenopausal, older than 65, and have never had a bone density test.


Management of osteoporosis

The goal of osteoporosis management is to prevent bone fractures, by stopping bone loss and by increasing bone density and strength. Although early detection and timely treatment of osteoporosis can substantially decrease the risk of future fracture, none of the available treatments for osteoporosis are complete cures. In other words, it is difficult to completely rebuild bone that has been weakened by osteoporosis. Therefore, the prevention of osteoporosis is as important as treatment.


Diet for Osteoporosis

An optimal diet for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis includes an adequate in take of calories, as well as calcium, vitamin D and protein, all of which are essential in helping to maintain proper bone formation and density.

An inadequate supply of calcium over a lifetime contributes to the development of osteoporosis. Many published studies show that low calcium intake appears to be associated with low bone mass, rapid bone loss, and high fracture rates.

The main dietary sources of calcium include milk and other dairy products, like cottage cheese, yogurt, hard cheese and green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli. You can get 1200mg of calcium by drinking 4 glasses of skim milk (8-ounces each).

Depending upon how much calcium you get each day from food, you may need to take a calcium supplement.

Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, we cant form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”), causing insufficient calcium absorption from the diet. You can get vitamin D safely in two ways: through the skin and from the diet. Vitamin D is formed naturally in the body after exposure to sunlight. Fifteen minutes in the sun is plenty of time to manufacture and store all of the vitasin D you need. Vitamin D-rich foods include egg yolks, saltwater


Exercise for Osteoporosis

Exercise is an important component of an osteoporosis prevention and treatment program. While exercise is good for someone with osteoporosis, it should not put any sudden or excessive strain on your bones.

Exercise can help you reduce your risk of fracturing. By helping you build and maintain your bone density, and by enhancing your balance, flexibility and strength, to reduce your chance of falling.


To build and maintain your bone density

Bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Just as a muscle gets stronger and bigger the more you use it, a bone becomes stronger and denser when is called upon to bear weight. For building and maintaining bone density . Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are the two most important types of exercise.

Weight-bearing exercises are those in which your bones and muscles work against gravity, such as walking, climbing stairs, etc.

Resistance exercises are those that use muscular strength to improve muscle mass and strengthen the bones. The best example of resistance exercises is weight lifting, such as using free weights and weight machines at your local health club.


To reduce the risk of falling

You can significantly reduce your risk of falling by engaging in activities that enhance your balance, flexibility and strength.

·                     Balance is the ability to maintain your body’s stability while moving or standing still. You can improve your balance with activities like yoga.

·                     Flexibility refers to the range of motion of a muscle, or a group of muscles. You can improve your flexibility through swimming, yoga, and gentle stretching exercises.

·                     Strength refers to your body’s ability to develop and maintain strong muscles. Lifting weights will increase your strength.

Certain movements may be dangerous because of the stress they put on your spine, and hence, should be avoided. These include excessive forward bending, twisting, heavy-lifting and high-impact activities.


Smoking cessation if you have Osteoporosis

Smoking is bad for your bones, as well as your heart and lungs. Women who smoke have lower levels of oestrogen compared to non-smokers, and they often go through menopause earlier. Smokers may also absorb less calcium from their diets.

Calcium and vitamin D supplementation

Calcium plays an important role in maintaining bone strength. Calcium alone cannot prevent or cure osteoporosis, but it is an important part of the overall prevention or treatment program. With age, calcium absorption decreases and vitamin D deficiency also occurs which plays an important role in the development of osteoporosis.

Many women consume less than half of the daily recommended amount of calcium. If you are unable to get enough calcium through your diet, your doctor can recommend an appropriate calcium supplement, since there are several different types of calcium salts and a variety of supplements available.

Vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption and bone health. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is between 400 and 800 international units (IU). Do not take more than 800 IU per day unless your doctor prescribes it, since massive doses of vitamin D may be harmful.


Vitamin D is available in various forms, i.e. plain (cholecaliciforal) and as active vitamin D analogs

Dos and don’ts for safe movement

Dos for safe movement

·                     Always pay attention to proper posture.

·                     Lift your breastbone.

·                     Keep your head erect and look forward.

·                     Keep your shoulders back; lightly “pinch” shoulder blades.

·                     Tighten you abdominal muscles and buttocks.

·                     Whenever possible, walk or climb the stairs, always use the handrail.

·                     Always bend the hips and knees, not from the waist.

Don’ts for safe movement

·                     Don’t walk or exercise on slippery surfaces.

·                     Don’t wear shoes with slippery soles.

·                     Don’t move too quickly.

·                     Don’t engage in sports or activities that require twisting the spine or bending forward from the waist, such as conventional sit-uups or toe touches.

·                     Don’t force yourself to complete a task or exercise if you feel short of breath, are in pain or are fatigued.

·                     Don’t spend extended periods of time in your chair or bed. Remaining inactive is one of the worst things you can do.

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