Posted on Oct 15, 2019 in Senior Health
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones and makes them more vulnerable to breaking.
Bones become so brittle that even very mild stresses can cause fractures. In osteoporosis, bone is lost and broken down at a greater rate than it’s created.
While osteoporosis affects men and women of every race, Caucasian and Asian women are at heightened risk. Older women who have passed menopause are the most prone to this bone disease. Family history is also a contributory risk factor.
Since osteoporosis has no symptoms during its early stages, it’s often left undiagnosed and untreated. This can often lead to further complications. Often, osteoporosis is only diagnosed after a minor fall leading to a fracture.
What causes this weakening of the bones to a point of such fragility then?
While losing bone is part of normal aging, losing too much bone density too quickly leads to osteoporosis.
The likelihood you will develop osteoporosis is based in part on a number of risk factors beyond your control.
In general, women are more likely than men to experience osteoporosis. The older you get, the more your risk of bone loss increases. If you’ve got a smaller frame, that’s also likely to enhance your chance of getting this bone disease.
Some other factors include:
Insufficient calcium intake over time will contribute to reduced bone density, premature bone loss and brittleness.
This calcium deficiency raises your risk of fractures and has a part to play in whether you’ll get osteoporosis.
Menopausal women and those who have had a hysterectomy will produce fewer estrogen hormones rendering them susceptible to osteoporosis.
Men also gradually produce less testosterone as they age leading to possibly weakened bones.
Treatments for prostate cancer in males and breast cancer in females reduce estrogen levels and hasten bone loss further.
If you have a hyperactive thyroid or adrenal gland, this has been shown to have an association with bone loss as well.
Long-term use of corticosteroids can interfere with the way your bones rebuild.
Osteoporosis has also been linked to medications used to treat cancer, re-flux and seizures.
Malnutrition and eating disorders both result in being underweight and bring about a greater risk of weakened bones.
With a look at some of the many causes of osteoporosis taken care of, how about the signs and symptoms of this bone condition?
This degenerative illness doesn’t present symptoms during the early phase.
Once osteoporosis has already weakened the bones, though, expect to notice some of the following signs:
Good nutrition and regular exercise in line with your fitness levels are key for bone health.
Here are some general pointers to reduce the chance you’ll end up suffering from osteoporosis as you advance in years.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of foods packed with minerals and vitamins will give you many overall health benefits along with stronger bones.
As your muscles and bones start to lose density, make sure meal time features plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins and seafood laden with the Calcium and vitamin D you need as you age.
How about these vitamins and minerals, then?
Calcium is vital for healthy and strong bones, especially in the elderly. Vitamin D is essential to absorb the calcium you take onboard.
Your body cannot produce calcium and a calcium deficiency will eventually cause osteoporosis.
Seniors aged 60 to 69 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily along with 600IU/day of vitamin D.
Those aged 70 and above need 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily with 800IU to 1,000IU/day of vitamin D.
Calcium can be obtained from foods such as apricots, bananas, beans, bread, broccoli, cabbage, cheese, eggs, fish like salmon and sardines, lentils, milk, nuts, okra, seeds, soy drinks, sweet potatoes, tofu, tomatoes, whey protein and yogurt.
You can get plenty of vitamin D from early morning and late afternoon sunshine. It can also be found in beef liver, cereals, cheese, cod liver oil, egg yolks, fish (canned tuna, herring, mackerel and salmon), mushrooms, orange juice, oysters, shrimp and soy milk.
As you age, your skin produces less vitamin D from sunlight so taking enough on board through your diet is important. Consider supplementation if you’re not getting enough from your food.
Smoking is bad for the bones and hastens the bone loss in older people. It also causes other health complications so it’s never too late to quit.
It’s a wise move to limit alcohol consumption to one or two glasses since too much might cause you to fall and fracture a bone.
You should limit your consumption of salt as too much sodium can lead to bone loss.
It’s never too late to start incorporating daily exercises in your everyday routine.
Staying fit and active within your own limits is one of the most effective ways to fight back against osteoporosis.
A combination of strength training, balance and weight-bearing exercises will pay dividends in the form of stronger bones.
After a bone mineral density scan, other factors such as your age, gender, previous injury history and risk of fracture will be used to determine the best course of treatment.
These drugs are available for oral or intravenous delivery and reduce bone loss.
When taken orally, you should stand or sit upright for 30 minutes after ingesting the medicine. Take note that only plain water can be used for drinking. This avoids heartburn and ulceration of the esophagus.
You can eat or drink water after 30 minutes.
This is long-term treatment that might take 6 to 12 months to work. You’ll probably take these tablets for 5 years.
Calcitonin and Teriparatide are hormone medications used to treat osteoporosis.
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