A condition when the possibility of fracture increases due to decreased bone density is termed as osteoporosis. The symptoms are almost nil until a person develops a break in the bone. The inner processes are constantly working to replace the old worn out bone cells. Osteoporosis, exactly, is the state when the body is not able to cope up the process of deterioration or removal of damaged bones.
The main issue is the weakness of bones that eventually lead to fractures. ‘Osteo’ means bones and ‘porosis’ means pores or small holes. Osteoporosis means porous or weakened bones prone to fractures.
The fact that it is better to prevent rather than to wait for the disease to occur is true for every ailment. As osteoporosis has no symptoms in the beginning, you have to keep a check on certain factors to maintain bone health-
• Hormonal levels- One of the significant factors responsible for bone loss is abnormal hormones in the blood. Unusual change in Estrogen level in women and reduction in testosterone amount in men are alarming and need to be checked.
Among other glands, thyroid plays an indispensable role in the weakening of bones if the level of the hormone increases beyond the normal limit.
• Osteoporosis nutrition- A balanced diet is recommended to ensure proper intake of all the nutrients. Low calcium diet can cause osteoporosis. Include green leafy vegetables, orange juice, dairy products, cornflakes, drumsticks etc. for calcium or take calcium supplements.
Besides calcium, protein also plays a major role in the building of bones. A protein-rich diet helps you live with healthy bones but yes, as the age increases the digestion of protein is not so easy.
Vitamin D is another essential nutrient vital for bone health. The ultimate source of vitamin D is sunlight but very few people get enough sun exposure so require this nutrient from other sources like food or dietary supplements.
• Use of alcohol and tobacco- Intoxication in any form is not advisable as it leads to deterioration of overall health. Bone health is not an exception. The regular use of alcohol and consumption of tobacco can lead to poor bones leading to osteoporosis.
• Age, menopause, and medications- With growing age, the risk of bone loss increases as the capacity of the body to produce bones decreases. You need to take care of your health at this stage.
Menopause in females between 45 to 55 years of age causes hormonal changes leading to weak and fragile bones. Women need to take more calcium in their diet with regular health checkups to avoid osteoporosis.
Corticosteroids are the medicines that can cause the ailment. Consult your doctor if you are using any of these medicines.
• Family history- Osteoporosis, to some extent, is related to genetics. If the mother or father has ever experienced hip fractures, you have to take more care of your bone health. Go for regular health checkups particularly bone density index.
Complications involved in osteoporosis
Back pain or hunched postures are the few of the unusual symptoms of the disease. You never know when your bone develops a crack as they are weakened to the extent that even a small jerk can cause a fracture.
Hip and spine fractures are the most severe complications of the disease that can cripple you for a lifetime or even cause death. The patient can suffer from a crack in any bone of the body just on sneezing and coughing if the ailment turns worst.
The vertebrae of the spine are weakened due to osteoporosis, come closer to each other, reducing the overall height of the individual. The nerve compression due to the decreased gap is the cause of back and neck pain. Hip fractures are caused even after a slip or fall resulting in pain and suffering.
Precautions: Improve your lifestyle
A sedentary way of living can lead to many problems and the person who spent most of the time inactive or working on computers is at a higher risk of osteoporosis.
Underweight and overweight individuals can suffer from bone fractures due to bone loss or debilitated bones. Maintaining healthy weight is must to avoid health problems including osteoporosis.
To stay fit for a lifetime, begin the workout and strengthening exercises at a young age. Walking, jogging and other sports benefit the bones and help you stay in fine fettle.
Today, stress has taken away most of our vigor and working in air-conditioned offices in sitting position for long hours still deteriorate the situation. The need of the hour is to improve our way of living by including healthy habits like quit smoking, minimize alcohol intake, take balanced diet, exercise regularly, lead a disciplined and stress-free life.
The measures mentioned above are difficult to adopt for a person leading a carefree life, but not impossible. It is better to prevent the disease than to go for medication as the symptoms are not visible until the condition deteriorates.
In case you develop osteoporosis, and you now know that your bones are weak, don’t ever feel to take rest to avoid fractures. You have to lead an active lifestyle paying attention to diet and exercises. Consult an Orthopedic doctor, a physiotherapist, and a nutritionist to develop a perfect routine.
Besides medication, a proper living style is mandatory to control the ailment. A healthy diet and regular exercises are a must. Here are few tips to avoid osteoporosis-
- Include low-fat and high calcium foods in your diet
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Keep a check on your hormonal and calcium levels
- Exercise regularly with dancing and aerobics
- Avoid too much dieting
- Postmenopausal osteoporosis needs treatment to reduce the risk of fractures
- Antiresorptive therapy works
Conclusively, the saying ‘Prevention is better than cure’ is perfect for osteoporosis, As fractures require a lot of care and rest. To prevent compression fractures resulting from severe and chronic osteoporosis, stick to ideal nutrition rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, protein, magnesium, and zinc. Exercise regularly and live a stress-free life!