Osteoporosis is a medical condition that is not seriously taken anywhere. The chances of mortality are high with every major osteoporosis fracture. Osteoporosis is not a disease, doesn’t have symptoms and doesn’t develop suddenly. But it is a condition without cure.
Thinning and weakening of bones are a sign of aging. But in some people, too much bone loss can be seen in X rays showing every possibility of easily repeated fractures or osteoporosis. If doubted, the technique of bone densitometry is recommended by doctors to predict the level of risk. Though theory does not support the relation between death and fractures osteoporosis patients are at a double risk of death. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality points out that as awareness hits the public, more and more women are coming up to get screened for osteoporosis. Women after menopause have a low estrogen level which usually play a part in building bone density. Hence post menopause women and those with irregular periods are at a higher risk. An Indian survey showed that there are around 500,000 spinal fractures, 300,000 hip fractures, 200,000 broken wrists, and 300,000 fractures of other bones happening every year in India.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), SERM and a variety of other treatments are in vogue to reverse Osteoporosis. But treatments like HRT have their own risks associated with them. And by all means, prevention is better than cure. In most people osteoporosis can be prevented with some extra care.
Physical Activity- Doing regular weight-bearing exercise as early as in the youth can minimize any damage to your bones. Women are advised to exercise regularly after menopause to improve their muscle strength and bone density. Weight-lifting, jogging, hiking, stair-climbing, step aerobics, dancing, racquet sports are the best exercises to prevent osteoporosis. But exercise alone can’t deter the disorder.
- Smoking can be a pioneer to many painful medical conditions. Next to cancer and heart disease smoking can affect the production of bone cells. Smoking also prevents adequate blood supply to the body ,delays healing and causes broncospasm leading to a low amount of oxygen in the blood stream. One more reason for smokers to quit smoking!
- Inadequate intake of calcium- Many of us have a perpetual dislike for milk, as my father puts it. But a dislike for milk can prove to be quite harmful. The habit of drinking of milk as early as in the teens adds up to your skeletal health in later years. Those who hate milk or have lactose intolerance can take calcium supplements and fortified soy milk. For a comprehensive article on calcium click here.
- Vitamin D- If you are taking calcium your body needs Vitamin D to ensure the proper absorption of it. Only two things like diet and exposure to sun can ensure Vitamin D supply to your body. Foods like fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil are the natural sources of ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3).
Osteoporosis is not just a natural condition that affects women and the elderly. It is a highly predictable and preventable disorder.
-AparnA K V