Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs mainly in women, characterized by the weakening of the bones due to the decrease in bone mass, which increases the possibility of fractures and bone injuries. This condition usually occurs after the age of 50, when the woman begins the premenopausal and menopausal stages, increasing the risk of suffering essential injuries such as fractures of the vertebrae of the spine, hip, or wrists. Discovering the causes and ways of preventing this condition could help us avoid it, while maintaining reasonable medical control can favor its diagnosis. In this FastlyHealarticle, we explain osteoporosis’s symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bone density decreases, which results in the weakening of the bones, increasing the risk of fractures and injuries. This degenerative condition progresses slowly and usually without symptoms, causing the bones to become more porous and thinner, eventually leading to a fracture due to simple trauma.
Although this condition can also affect men, it is a pathology that manifests itself with a higher incidence in women after menopause.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Our bones are constantly renewed throughout our lives, leading to bone formation that allows new bone growth and resorption, a process by which aging bone is destroyed. Osteoporosis occurs when the balance between both approaches is not adequate. Either because the bones stop renewing or because they are reabsorbed faster than they should, this interferes with their bone density, causing them to weaken.
It is a progressive condition that often occurs with no apparent cause. A significant percentage of those who suffer from it manifest the disease after menopause. In these cases, the weakening occurs due to the lack of estrogens. This condition also affects the elderly, either because the aging process prevents the bone’s renewal or because the bones have stopped adequately absorbing calcium and phosphate, minerals necessary to maintain their density.
In addition, several risk factors increase the possibility of suffering from osteoporosis:
- Be a woman, white, and over 50 years old.
- Not getting the right amount of calcium in your diet.
- Not consuming an adequate amount of vitamin D is essential to promote calcium absorption.
- Have low levels of estrogens in the case of women and testosterone in men.
- Have instances of indirect osteoporosis relatives.
- Smoke and drink.
- Being very thin, as this condition is more common in underweight people.
- Problems absorbing nutrients or minerals, something familiar in people, have been operated on to reduce their stomachs.
- Suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Unfortunately, osteoporosis is a condition that progresses silently and without showing any symptoms until the moment when the bones are already weakened, and conditions such as vertebrae, hip, or wrist fractures begin to appear.
When fractures occur in the spine, pain can be felt in any part of the back, including sensitive areas such as the cervicals. These injuries can also cause obvious deformation of the spine, stooping, humps, and reduction in height. If, in addition, there is a fracture in any bone with no apparent cause or due to a slight trauma, the presence of this disease can also be suspected.
Is osteoporosis treatable?
Once this disease is suspected, it is essential to visit a doctor to carry out a complete review and carry out the tests that allow a diagnosis. Bone de-cytometry is the most common test used to diagnose osteoporosis, through which it is possible to measure bone density and determine whether there is mineral loss.
Osteoporosis is a condition that has no cure. However, various treatments will help strengthen the bones and prevent fractures. In cases where previous injuries to the vertebrae have occurred, they are not reversible.
Treatment for osteoporosis encompasses several aspects:
Calcium and vitamin D supplements are used to ensure better absorption and medication to reduce bone loss and improve bone density. Prescriptions must be prescribed by a specialist and appropriate to each patient’s particular case.
Patients with osteoporosis must improve their eating habits to ensure adequate calcium and vitamin D consumption, essential for the absorption of this mineral. Apart from supplements, it is necessary to increase the consumption of cereals and beverages fortified with calcium and foods that contain it, such as green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, or broccoli, legumes such as chickpeas or beans, nuts or low-fat dairy. For its part, vitamin D is found in oily fish, eggs, fish oils, shellfish, mollusks, and our bodies. Since the sun favors its production, sunbaths of 30 minutes a day are recommended.
Exercises for osteoporosis
Physical activity is essential to guarantee good bone density. Therefore it is recommended to carry out frequent physical exercise through walking, swimming, dancing, exercising with weights or machines, or practicing disciplines such as yoga or tai chi, which promote Balance. High-impact exercises like running or any activity with risks of falls should be avoided entirely.
How much calcium and vitamin D do I need per day?
Knowing our daily needs for calcium and vitamin D is very important to offer our body the nutrients that guarantee healthy bones or, in the case of osteoporosis, that at least prevent fractures and injuries.
The recommended amount of these nutrients are:
- Adults under 50 years: 1000 mg of calcium and between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D.
- Women between 50 and 70 years: 1200 mg of calcium and between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D.
- Men between 50 and 70 years: 1000 mg of calcium and between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D.
- Adults over 70 years: 1200 mg of calcium and between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D.
Only a specialist can indicate whether it is necessary to take supplements of either of these two nutrients.
Recommendations for people with osteoporosis
In addition to following medical recommendations, taking the prescribed medications and supplements, and improving your diet and physical activity, other practical measures will help you optimize bone density and prevent injury:
- If you smoke, it is essential to stop, as tobacco increases the progression of this condition. Similarly, it is recommended to moderate your alcohol intake.
- Avoid physical activities that can promote falls and any sport or impact activity: running, tennis, jumping, etc.
- Remove from your home any objects that could cause you to fall, such as slippery carpets, furniture, or misplaced objects.
- It is essential to wear shoes with non-slip soles to avoid dangerous falls.
- Install slip-resistant mats in showers and bathtubs to avoid accidents.
- Don’t walk around the house with the lights off, or you risk tripping over an object and injuring yourself.
- In the case of older adults with mobility difficulties, they must have the help of a caregiver or nurse to ensure their safety.
Keys to preventing osteoporosis
If you want to prevent osteoporosis and ensure the health of your bones, it is essential to:
- Consume foods rich in calcium in your daily diet that allow you to obtain the necessary contribution of this mineral.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin D and frequently sunbathe for a few minutes a day. To avoid skin injuries, it is recommended to do it before 10 am and after 4 pm.
- They are maintaining a good weight. Being under the recommended weight increases the risk of suffering from this disease.
- Exercising frequently several times a week helps support and improve bone density, making it a great way to prevent osteoporosis.
- Stop smoking and moderate alcohol intake.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Osteoporosis: symptoms, treatment, and prevention, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints, and Muscles.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.