Osteoporosis (Causes and Prevention)


What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is one of the types of orthopedic disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Pressures that normally do not cause bone damage can cause osteoporosis. Falling and even mild stress such as bending the bone too much or coughing can cause a fracture.

Fractures caused by severe osteoporosis may take the form of a crack (such as a hip fracture) or a compression fracture (such as a vertebral compression fracture). Although fractures related to osteoporosis can happen in any bone, the spine, hip joint, ribs, and wrists are prone and common fracture sites. Some of these fractures can have serious consequences. Kyphoplasty is one of the methods for vertebral compression fracture treatment.

How does osteoporosis occur?

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly broken down and replaced. In this way, the body maintains the bone density and the integrity of the crystals and their structure. Osteoporosis occurs when the balance between the formation of new bone and the breakdown of old bone is disrupted and the bone becomes spongy and hollow.

What age does osteoporosis start?

Bone density reaches its maximum value at the age of 25 and remains at its peak until about 35 years of age, and after that, with age, bone loses 0.3 to 0.5% of its density annually. The rate of bone loss increases in women after menopause.

In general, the higher the bone density, the stronger the bone. Bone density is influenced by genetics, environmental factors, drugs, and other factors.

What is Osteopenia?

Osteopenia is a disease between normal bone and osteoporosis, where bone density is less than normal bone, but not as much as bone density loss in osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis and osteopenia

What is kyphosis?

Kyphosis, hunchback or the same hump, often occurs in the upper part of the vertebral column and gives the person the appearance of a humpback, which is known as Dowager Hump; Because it is mostly seen in old women (Dowager means old woman and widow).

Symptoms of osteoporosis

The bone loss that leads to osteoporosis progresses slowly. Osteoporosis may go undiagnosed for many years because it does not cause any symptoms until a person suffers a fracture due to a minor incident such as falling or even coughing or sneezing.

The most important symptoms of osteoporosis in women and men include the following:

The symptoms associated with osteoporotic fractures are the same in men and women and are usually painful.

The location of the pain depends on the location of the fracture.

Usually, there are no symptoms in the early stages of osteoporosis. But when the bones become weak, symptoms also appear.

A fracture of the spine or compression of the vertebrae can cause severe back pain and neck pain that spreads from the back to the sides of the body.

Over the years, repeated spinal fractures can lead to:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Shortening of the vertebrae
  • Change in status
  • to bend

Spinal deviation due to collapsing vertebrae (kyphosis) and bones break much more easily than expected.

Causes of osteoporosis

A number of factors can increase the likelihood of contracting this disease. They include the following:

Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

Age: The older you are, the higher the risk of developing this disease.

Race: You have the highest risk if you are white or Asian.

Family history: Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at higher risk, especially if your mother or father has a history of hip fractures.

Skeletal size: Men and women with small skeletal sizes are at greater risk because they may have less bone mass as they age.

How to prevent osteoporosis?

The following will help prevent osteoporosis:

1. Calcium intake

One of the most important things to include in your diet is calcium intake. Calcium is essential for bone health and is considered the enemy of osteoporosis. People over the age of 19 should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, and women over the age of 51 and everyone over the age of 71 should consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. If a person’s calcium intake is not enough, calcium supplements and injections are good options.

Food sources that contain calcium and are good for osteoporosis :

  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Green vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli
  • Soft-boned fish such as salmon and tuna
  • Enriched cereal

Calcium is essential for bone health and is considered the enemy of osteoporosis.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a key role in the body because it helps absorb calcium. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified foods, saltwater fish, and liver. Most of vitamin D is not supplied through food but is made in the skin by exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D supplements and tablets are also available.

3. Osteoporosis and nutrition (what should we eat to treat and prevent osteoporosis?)

In order not to get osteoporosis, we must observe nutritional factors affecting osteoporosis in youth and middle age. Also, avoid eating some foods that reduce bone mass as much as possible.

4. Reduce alcohol consumption

Alcohol is one of the harmful foods for osteoporosis. One of the important things is to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages because it causes damage to healthy bones. Reducing alcohol consumption prevents a person from falling.

5. Changing lifestyle

For people who already have osteoporosis, nutrition, exercise, and fall prevention play a key role in reducing the risks and bone loss.

6. Quit Smoking

Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day leads to a loss of 5-10% of bone mass. Smoking slows new bone growth, lowers estrogen levels in women, and causes early menopause. In postmenopausal women, smoking is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.

7. Regular exercise

Physical exercises such as walking strengthen bones and support muscles. Doing proper exercises to build flexibility and balance, such as yoga, can reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Avoid exercises that can damage weak bones.

In patients over 40 years old and those with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and overweight, exercise should be controlled by a doctor and sports coach. Intense exercises like marathons are not good for bones. In young women, marathons lead to weight loss and menopause and actually stimulate osteoporosis.

8. Avoid long-term use of corticosteroids

We said that the most common drugs that cause osteoporosis are corticosteroids. Avoid taking too much of these drugs.

9. Safety

Taking the following steps can help prevent falls in people with osteoporosis:

  • Eliminating the risks of slipping, such as not using carpets with ridges or carpets that are on ceramic
  • Periodic check of eyeglass number to have good vision
  • Installing bars in the bathroom that a person can hold onto to keep his balance
  • Using a lot of light in the house
  • Exercises that help maintain balance, such as tai chi and yoga.
  • Avoid taking drugs that cause dizziness
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