What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when bone mineral density and mass decrease, or when bone structure and strength alter. This can result in a loss in bone strength, increasing the risk of fractures (broken bones).
Osteoporosis is a “silent” illness since it usually has no symptoms, and you may not even realize you have it until you break a bone. In postmenopausal women and older men, osteoporosis is the leading cause of fractures. Fractures can occur in any bone; however, they are most common in the hip, spine vertebrae, and wrist.
But you can help prevent the sickness and fractures by doing the following:
- Maintaining physical activity through weight-bearing exercises such as walking.
- Moderate alcohol consumption.
- Quitting smoking or refraining from starting if you do not smoke.
- Using your recommended drugs, which can help avoid fractures in adults with osteoporosis.
- Eating a nutritious diet rich in calcium and vitamin D helps maintain good bone health.
Who Gets Osteoporosis?
Women and men of various races and ethnic groups are affected by osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can occur at any age, however, the chance of acquiring the condition increases with age. Many women have symptoms of the condition a year or two before menopause. Other things to think about are:
- Non-Hispanic white women and Asian women are the most likely to develop osteoporosis.
- Although African American and Hispanic women have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis, they are still at risk.
- Osteoporosis is more common in non-Hispanic white men.
- Some drugs, such as several cancer medications and glucocorticoid steroids, may increase the chance of developing osteoporosis.
- Because women are more likely than males to develop osteoporosis, many men believe they are not at risk. Yet, older men and women of all backgrounds are at risk of developing osteoporosis.
- A rare form of idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis affects some children and teenagers. The cause is unknown to doctors; however, most youngsters recover without treatment.
Most people associate osteoporosis with women, but older men require protection from this bone-weakening condition as well. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in every four males over the age of 50 may break a bone because of osteoporosis. Also, compared to women, older men are more likely to die because of an osteoporosis-related fracture.
What influences your bone health?
A variety of things can have an impact on bone health. As an example:
- The calcium content of your diet: A calcium-deficient diet relates to decreased bone density, early bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures.
- Physical activity: Physically sedentary people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than physically active people.
- Cigarettes and alcohol consumption: Tobacco usage may contribute to bone weakness, according to research. Similarly, more than one alcoholic drink per day for women or two alcoholic drinks per day for males may raise the risk of osteoporosis.
- Sex: Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men because they have less bone tissue.
- Size: If you are exceptionally thin (BMI (Body Mass Index) 19 or below) or have a small physical frame, you are at risk because you may have less bone mass to draw from as you age.
- Age: As you become older, your bones get thinner and weaker.
- Race and family history are important considerations: You are most likely to get osteoporosis if you are white or of Asian heritage. Also, having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis increases your risk, especially if you have a family history of fractures.
- Hormone balance: Thyroid hormone excess might result in bone loss. When oestrogen levels diminish during menopause, bone loss in women accelerates rapidly. Menstruation cessation (amenorrhea) before menopause raises the risk of osteoporosis. Low testosterone levels in men might result in bone mass loss.
- Eating disorders, among other things: Food restriction and being underweight both deteriorate bone in men and women. Furthermore, weight reduction surgery and illnesses like celiac disease might impair your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- Certain medicines: Long-term usage of corticosteroid drugs including prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone is bad for your bones. Aromatase inhibitors used to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, various anti-seizure medications such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital, and proton pump inhibitors are also known to raise the risk of osteoporosis.
What can you do to maintain the health of my bones?
You can prevent or delay bone loss by taking a few basic precautions. As an example:
- Make sure you have plenty of calcium in your diet. The Recommended Dietary Amount (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day for individuals aged 19 to 50 and men aged 51 to 70. For women aged 51 and above, and males aged 71 and up, the daily dose is increased to 1,200 mg.
- Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, tinned salmon with bones, sardines, and soy products like tofu. If you are having trouble getting enough calcium from your diet, talk to your doctor about supplements.
- Take note of vitamin D. To absorb calcium, your body requires vitamin D. The Recommended for vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) per day for individuals aged 19 to 70. For persons 71 and older, the dosage rises to 800 IUs per day.
- Oily fish, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, and tuna, are high in vitamin D. Mushrooms, eggs, and fortified foods like milk and cereals are other good sources of vitamin D. Sunshine also aids in the creation of vitamin D in the body. If you are concerned about obtaining enough vitamin D, consult your doctor about vitamin D supplements.
- Make physical activity a part of your everyday routine. Walking, jogging, and climbing stairs are all weight-bearing workouts that can help you grow strong bones and slow bone loss.
- Substance misuse should be avoided. You should not smoke. Avoid having more than one alcoholic drink each day if you are a woman. Avoid drinking more than two alcoholic beverages if you are a man.
Consult Your Doctor
Bone strength is affected by a variety of circumstances. Some drugs used to manage chronic conditions, for example, are an often-overlooked risk factor for osteoporosis. Also, certain drugs might produce dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of balance, which can put you in danger of falling.
See your doctor if you have any concerns about your bone health or risk factors for osteoporosis, such as a recent bone fracture. He or she may suggest a bone density test. The results will assist your doctor in determining your bone density and rate of bone loss. Your doctor can determine whether you are a candidate for medication to help decrease bone loss by analyzing this information and your risk factors. Your doctor can discuss your specific risk, as well as the various alternatives for preventing and treating bone loss.
You could ask your doctor the following questions:
- How can I improve my bone health the most?
- What is the finest calcium supplement to take?
- What medication may I use to help me?
- Has this drug been shown to reduce the risk of spine and hip fractures?
- What are the negative consequences?
- Do I need to follow any specific instructions when taking my bone medication?
- Would the pills interfere with other prescriptions I am taking for other conditions?
- How will I know if the treatment is successful?
- How soon will I notice a difference?
- How long will I be taking this medicine?
- Is there anything I am taking that puts me in danger of falling?
- What is the best exercise for me?
- Are there any exercises I should avoid?
- How can I tell if I have broken a bone in my spine?
- When should I make my next appointment?
- What should I do to avoid falling?
Bone Density Examination
The only way to establish the amount of your bone loss is to have a bone mineral density (BMD) test. According to researchers, the gold standard bone density test is dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). It is the most accurate bone diagnostic we have, and it is low radiation.
Your doctor will advise you on how often you should get a bone density test. If you use osteoporosis drugs or have specific risk factors, you may need to get a test every six months. Check with your insurance carrier before scheduling the test. Some insurance companies will only fund bone density exams every two years.
We can usually convince insurance companies to agree to pay for yearly tests, at least for the first year after treatment begins, If the doctor says it needs to be done, they typically pay. Nonetheless, you may need to be persistent to get it covered.
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