Osteoporosis – What You NEED to know

Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the density of bones in the body decrease. The bone structure changes to become brittle and porous, leading to fragile and weak bones resulting in frequent fractures. Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. As people age, bone mass is lost faster than it can be replaced.

Causes

The renewal process of bone begins to slow in the early 20s. By age 30, most people would have reached the peak of their bone mass, which slowly depletes thereafter. The likelihood of developing osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass is attained in youth. Additionally, genetics and ethnic heritage also play a part in determining an individual’s reservoir of bone mass. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone does not keep up with the loss of old bone.

Signs & Symptoms

There are typically no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. However, individuals that develop osteoporosis might see signs such as the following:-

  • back pain, as a result of vertebra fracture or collapse
  • loss of height over time
  • stooped posture
  • bones that break unexpectedly easily

Who is at risk?

You may wish to speak to a doctor about the risks and signs of osteoporosis if you have early onset menopause. While anybody can develop osteoporosis, women, particularly Asian women past the age of menopause, are at highest risk of developing the condition. Other factors that may put you at greater risk include:-

  • lower levels of sex hormone
  • over-active or hyper thyroid functions, or if you are overly medicating for an under-active thyroid
  • poor diet- low calcium intake, insufficient Vitamin D
  • eating disorders
  • gastrointestinal surgery
  • smoking
  • sedentary lifestyle

Diet & Prevention

Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for keeping bones healthy throughout life. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight reduces risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and Vitamin D are vital as well. We recommend speaking to a doctor or nutritionist on supplements if you find it hard to hit the recommended daily intake from your diet alone.

Exercise routines can help build strong bones and slow bone loss. A good exercise regime combines strength training exercises with weight-bearing and balance exercises. Strength training helps strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking or jogging affect mainly the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine. Balance exercises such as tai chi or yoga can reduce your risk of falling as you get older as well as keeps the body supple. While cardio is great for heart health and fat loss, it does not improve bone health.

Osteoporosis and Scoliosis

Osteoporosis and scoliosis are related because they are both conditions which affect the spine. Both conditions also occur more frequently in women compared to men. Similarly, family history also plays a part for both conditions. However, numerous studies to determine the connection between the two conditions remain inconclusive. If you have scoliosis, then put Osteoporosis on your radar. Make changes to your lifestyle today for your bone health which in turn will reduce the chances of Osteoporosis in future.