Osteoporosis is a condition that can affect people of all ages, but undoubtedly, with a much greater chance, the elderly.
We all lose bone mass as we grow older, but some of us lose more and faster. Osteoporosis will not occur to all the elderly, but it is definitely more common in them.
About one in two women over 50 will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis at some point in her life.
In fact, the chance of a woman suffering from an osteoporotic fracture in the hip is equal, if not greater, to the total probability of contracting breast, ovarian and uterine cancer! Women have lighter and thinner bones than men. Many women lose bone mass rapidly after menopause.
In women, sex hormones, estrogen, protect the bones. For many women, loss of bone mass increases after menopause when estrogen levels fall sharply. If menopause occurs early, the chance of osteoporosis increases. The same happens when menopause occurs artificially, eg by surgical removal of the ovaries, which produce most of the estrogen. In any case, you should contact your doctor to help protect your bone health.
Research has shown that heredity and genetic background play an important role in osteoporosis and the fractures it causes. If one of your parents has osteoporosis or fracture history, the likelihood of it happening to you is even greater. The same applies if your parents have lost height or have a kyphosis, which are serious signs of osteoporosis.
Low body weight / Low weight and weak body
Men and women with small bones are more likely to develop osteoporosis than large people. This, of course, does not mean that heavier and bigger people are in the irreplaceable …
Fractures and loss of stature
People who have been fractured during their adult life are likely to have already been infected with the disease and not be aware of it. Spinal fractures can occur without severe pain. They can cause loss of height or even curvature of the spine forwards. This phenomenon is called a kyphosis (the so-called “hump”). Vertebral fractures are often perceived only when there is a loss of some centimeters in height!
Risk factors that are amenable to intervention and everyday habits that affect bone health
Diet poor in Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium is a metal that forms a structural element of the bone and is very important for maintaining its health.
Vitamin D enables your body to use calcium. If you do not ingest enough amounts of food from this vitamin or if your body can not absorb it properly, then the risk of osteoporosis increases.
Diet poor in Fruits and vegetables
A balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, is essential in maintaining bone health. This is important because, in addition to calcium and vitamin D and other minerals such as magnesium and potassium, as well as vitamins such as vitamin K, contribute to bone health.
If you have a balanced diet, experts believe that you are receiving enough amounts of ingredients needed to maintain your bone health. In contrast, it is recommended that multivitamin preparations and dietary supplements be administered to those who do not take adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins. This includes people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders that can affect the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Consumption of large amounts of protein, sodium and caffeine
Eating habits involving ingesting high amounts of animal protein, caffeine and sodium can lead to calcium loss. Although protein consumption is necessary to keep your bones healthy, if you overdo it, you can lead to the opposite effect. It is advisable to avoid dieting with high levels of protein.
Taking a small amount of caffeine a day – especially tea or coffee – will not affect your bones. However, studies indicate that drinking cola beverages (mainly beverages) can have a negative effect on your bones. However, the same does not apply to soft drinks that do not contain caffeine or its derivatives.
However, even if you can not modify your diet with regard to these factors, consider that to compensate for their harmfulness in bone loss, you must definitely take adequate amounts of calcium.
The “sedentary way” of life
People less active, who do not exercise or do not perform physical activities daily, are at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Some types of daily exercise can help keep your bones in good shape. Exercises without weights, such as fast walking, riding a bike but also weight-training exercises with weight lifting, may be protective against your bones.
Beware, however, of the excess that can lead a weak bone to a fracture!
The damaging effect of smoking on your bones is multi-layered. Tobacco chemicals damage bone cells. Also, tobacco prevents the proper absorption of calcium. Especially for women, it can prevent the protective action of estrogen in the bones.
Excessive alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption affects bone formation. Alcoholics have insufficient calcium intake. Also, the calcium stores of the body may be affected.
You should not forget that excessive alcohol consumption affects the overall condition of the body, especially the reflexes and the synergy of the movements. This makes you more prone to falls and accidents, which can lead to fractures.However, alcohol in small quantities will not affect your bones.
While weight loss can protect you against diabetes or cardiovascular disease, it can damage the health of your bones. If you need to lose weight, you should protect your bones with exercise and nutrition rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Approximately 85-90% of the adult’s bone mass is acquired up to the age of 18 in the girls and 20 in the boys. “Building” strong bones during childhood and adolescence can help prevent osteoporosis at older ages.
The following six steps, when combined, can improve bone health and help significantly in preventing osteoporosis:
- Exercise in daily basis. Riding a bike for an hour per day is very important for your muscles and your bones.
- Put calcium and vitamin D in your daily diet
- Practice daily and stimulate your muscles
- Do not smoke or drink too much alcohol
- Talk to your doctor about the likelihood of osteoporosis and ask when to measure bone density
- Measure the bone density at the right time
Studies on the treatment of osteoporosis in rural populations have shown that prevention programs have significantly reduced the rate of hip fractures, while saving a lot of money.