Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis is a “silent” condition where the bones are weak and prone to fracture. Bone is a living tissue that is in a constant state of regeneration. That is, the body removes old bone (called bone resorption) and replaces it with new bone (bone formation). By their mid-30s, most people begin to slowly lose more bone than can be replaced. As a result, bones become thinner and weaker in structure. Osteoporosis is silent because there are no symptoms. It may come to your attention only after you break a bone. When you have this condition, a fracture can occur even after a minor injury, such as a fall. The most common fractures occur at the spine, wrist and hip. Spine and hip fractures, in particular, may lead to chronic (long-term) pain and disability, and even death. The main goal of treating osteoporosis is to prevent such fractures in the first place.

Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your risk of osteoporosis. By doing so, you can avoid the often-disabling broken bones (fractures) that can result from this condition. If you already have osteoporosis, new medications are available to slow or even stop the bones from getting weaker. These medicines also can decrease the chance of having a fracture.

Fast facts

(1) Age is not the only risk factor for osteoporosis. Lifestyle choices, certain diseases and even medications can lead to this condition
(2) A simple test known as a bone density scan can give important information about your bone health
(3) Newer medications can slow and even stop the progression of bones getting weaker, and can help decrease fracture risk...

Lifestyle changes may be the best way of preventing osteoporosis. Here are some tips:

(1) Make sure you get enough calcium in your diet or through supplements (roughly 1,000–1,200 mg/day, but will depend on your age)
(2) Get enough vitamin D (400–1,000 IU/day, depending on your age and your blood level of vitamin D measured by your doctor)
(3) Stop smoking
(4) Avoid excess alcohol intake: no more than two or three drinks a day.
(5) Engage in weight-bearing exercise. Aim for at least 2½ hours a week (30 minutes a day five times a week or 50 minutes a day three times a week), or as much as you can. Exercises that can improve balance, such as Tai Chi or yoga, may help prevent falls....