What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the
bones become fragile and are more likely to break.
What causes Osteoporosis?
Scientists do not know the answer to this
question. They think, while you are young your body makes new bones faster
than it breaks down old bones. As you get older this process slows down
and you start losing bone faster than you can make it. In order to avoid
this, you must have obtained a strong bone density from childhood and
adolescence. You also must have an adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin
Who is at risk?
There are several risk factors: being
female, thin and/or small frame, advanced age, family history of
osteoporosis, post-menopause, anorexia nervosa or bulimia, use of certain
medications such as corticosteriods, low testosterone levels in men, an
inactive lifestyle, cigarette smoking, excessive use of alcohol, and being
Asian, or Caucasian.
How can they detect Osteoporosis?
There are no symptoms to this disease. Many
people do not know they have it until they break a bone. There is a test
called the Bone Density Test that can determine if you have this
If you have any of the following risk
factors a Bone Density Test is recommended:
- Take medications that cause Osteoporosis
- Type I Diabetes, Liver disease or Kidney
- Family history of Osteoporosis
- Early menopause
- Post-menopausal and over 50 years of age
with at least one risk factor
- Post-menopausal and over 65 and have
never had a test
How can I prevent Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a very preventable disease.
Building strong bones in childhood and adolescence is the best defense.
Eating a diet balanced in Calcium and Vitamin D, performing weight bearing
exercises, a healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake
and Bone Density testing and medication when appropriate.
What role does Calcium play?
Inadequate amounts of calcium contribute to
osteoporosis. Appropriate intake of calcium is between 1000 to 1300 mg a
day. Vitamin D is needed to allow the body to absorb the calcium. The body
loses Calcium everyday, without Vitamin D and Calcium from the diet; the
body would have to take calcium from the bones.
Bone Building Checklist:
- Maintain a calcium rich diet.
- Get plenty of Vitamin D.
- Engage in weight bearing exercises.
- Don't smoke.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Consider hormone replacement or other
medications if you are at risk.