Alternate Names : Thin Bones
What is Osteoporosis ?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist.
As a woman ages, and begins edging toward menopause, she produces less estrogen, the hormone that helps control the rate at which calcium is reabsorbed into the bones. As estrogen levels fall, the bones may begin giving up more calcium than they take in. As a result, they get softer, weaker, and more prone to fractures.
Doctors call this osteoporosis. While men also get osteoporosis, they suffer from it much less than women. Doctors estimate that osteoporosis is responsible for about a third of all hip and vertebral fractures in people fifty years and older. It also causes back pain and, in some cases, a stooped posture as bones in the spine weaken and collapse.
Facts and Figures of Osteoporosis
Over 8 million Americans – one and a half million are subjected to life threatening fractures every year. 20% who endure hip fractures die from complications within a year; 60% become dependant on constant help in their daily lives. It is not strictly a women’s disease, though 85% of victims are women.
Various factors are known to increase the rate at of osteoporosis. The main conditions that can lead to osteoporosis are :-
- Family history of osteoporosis.
- Increased alcohol intake.
- Steroid drug treatment, particularly if prolonged more than a few weeks.
- Vitamin D deficiency.
Osteoporosis is often called “the silent disease” because in the early stages you usually do not have symptoms. As the disease progresses, you may develop symptoms related to weakened bones, including :-
- Neck pain.
- A curved upper back (dowager’s hump).
- Loss of height over time.
- Back pain.
- Fractures of the vertebrae, wrists, or hips (usually the first indication).
When to see the doctor?
Osteoporosis is a very serious condition that should always be under a physician’s care. Women going through menopause are especially at risk of developing osteoporosis. Other things that can increase your risk include surgery to remove the ovaries, smoking, heavy drinking, not getting enough calcium, or taking medications such as steroids. If you have any of these risk factors and haven’t been checked for osteoporosis, it’s probably time to make an appointment just to be safe.
Home Medication For Osteoporosis
Once you have osteoporosis, it can be very difficult to reverse. But it’s easy to prevent, mainly by making simple changes in your diet and lifestyle. Here some natural home remedies for the treatment of osteoporosis :-
1. Don’t forget the D
Your body needs vitamin D in order to absorb calcium. This is perhaps the easiest nutrient to get. All you have to do is spend a little time outdoors. Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” because your body produces it naturally whenever sunshine touches your skin. You can also get vitamin D by drinking fortified milk.
2. Concentrate on calcium
The most important thing you can do to prevent and treat osteoporosis is to get more calcium. All women should get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Women who are past menopause need even more, about 1,500 milligrams a day. Most women don’t get anywhere near those amounts, and that’s unfortunate because it’s very easy to get all the calcium you need in your diet.
Dairy foods are the best sources of calcium. A cup of skim milk, for example, has over 300 milligrams calcium. A cup of yogurt has a lot more, about milligrams. Cheese is also good. A serving of mozzar, cheese, for example, has over 180 milligrams of calcium. Even if you’re not a big fan of dairy foods, there are plenty of other places to get calcium. Fortified orange juice, contains about as much calcium as an equal serving of milk. You can also get a lot of calcium in leafy green vegetables, like broccoli.
3. Drinking too much coffee
A study of 84,484 patients showed a correlation between bone fractures and heavy coffee consumption.
4. Exercise regularly
Doctors at one time hesitated before recommending exercise to post-menopausal women because it was thought that vigorous activity might Increase the risk of fractures in already weak bones. Experts now know, however, that regular exercise especially weight-bearing exercise, such as walking and lifting weights – can actually cause the bones to take in more calcium, making them thicker and stronger. Swimming is a great exercise because it puts virtually no stress on already weakened bones.
5. Cut back on colas
Colas and other soft drinks contain a substance called phosphoric acid, which can speed the removal of calcium from your bones.
6. Consider hormone replacement
Although it’s not for everyone, some women past menopause will benefit from taking supplemental estrogen. Increasing the amount of estrogen in your body will vastly improve the bones’ ability to absorb more calcium.
7. Excess salt and sugar consumption in junk foods, which leach calcium from the bones into the urine.
8. Ask your doctor about supplements
If you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet, your doctor may recommend that you take calcium supplements, which will easily provide all you need.
Ideally, osteoporosis is a condition that should be prevented from occurring, but this is unrealistic given our present state of knowledge and ability to influence it. Here some prevention tips :-
- Taking regular exercise is the single most important action anyone can take to improve the strength of their bones.
- Stopping smoking should be a priority for anyone interested in enjoying a longer life and keeping away from orthopedic wards.
- Alcohol consumption should also be kept within safe limits.
- A good calcium intake is essential throughout life for healthy bones.