Osteoporosis literally means porous bone-a disease in which the thickness and quality of bone are reduced. It is when the bones become quite fragile. As bones become more porous and fragile; they may weaken to such a degree that a break may occur with minor stress or spontaneously. The bones most often affected are the hips, spine, and the bones of the forearm/wrist. “The likelihood of these fractures occurring, particularly at the hip and spine, increases with age in both women and men” says International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF).
Usually, there are no preceding symptoms to signal that a bone is about to break. Until you start to feel chronic pain and a decreased ability to carry out normal activities. Loss of bone occurs silently and progressively without any symptoms. The only time you feel the first sign that you may have osteoporosis is when you break a bone in a relatively minor fall or accident (known as a low-impact fracture-i.e fractures that are most likely in the hip, spine or wrist).
Osteoporosis is a condition that can have serious effects. It can lead to fractures, which can be painful, take a long time to heal, and lead to other complications. Vertebral fractures such as spine can result in serious consequences, including staying in bed for long periods, which raises your risk of blood clots, pneumonia, and other infections while a hip fracture often requires surgery and may be life threatening.
According to research, Osteoporosis is a disease that affects more of older people but anyone can get osteoporosis. Women are about four times more likely than men to develop it. Osteoporosis in women mostly occur say from 45 to 55 after the menopause. Estrogen deficiency is one of the main causes of bone loss in women during and after menopause. A woman’s body loses bone more quickly. For instance, women may lose “up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years following menopause”. For men, bone loss begins say 65 to 70 but at a slower rate than women do. According to IOF men in most cases don’t experience rapid bone loss as women do; they undergo a slow bone loss with age especially once they are over 50 instead.
Osteoporosis has been estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide by 2025 and: “By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women (iofbonehealth.org). Even though men generally reach a higher level of bone density, osteoporosis still occurs in more severe situation. Generally, the biggest risk factor of osteoporosis is age but other risk factors that increase great risk of osteoporosis in both male and female include: having a family history of osteoporosis, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, low body weight, small-boned frame and being female.
The good news is, there is a lot you can do through your diet, nutrition and physical activity to prevent osteoporosis
Four Ways To Prevent Bone Breakdown
- Adequate levels of calcium and Vitamin D intake: You could reduce your chance of having weakening bones taking appropriate amount of calcium rich foods and vitamin D. Calcium supplementation has also been shown to have a positive effect on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women also. Calcium helps maximize the positive effect of physical activity on bone health in children. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and Poor vitamin D status in the elderly has been linked to age-related bone loss and osteoporotic fracture. Speak with your doctor/nutritionist on getting recommended daily amount of calcium and vitamin D
- Fruit and vegetable intake: Eating the exact components of fruits and vegetables is said to positively associate with bone density in men and women. It may confer a benefit to bone health
- Exercising: Physical activity and fitness reduce risk of osteoporosis and fracture and fall-related injuries. You could do stairs climbing, squats, pushups and weight training such as working with dumbbells. If a child starts exercising early before adolescence, this can improve bone mass/density. Some of us females in particular exercise too much and eat too little. This could heighten the risk for low bone mass and fractures according to research.
- Cut down on Alcohol Intake: If you find pleasure in high intake of alcohol or smoking on a long term, it can lead to lower bone density and higher risk of fracture with age. Chronic alcohol abuse is detrimental to bone health, with one of the mechanisms being a direct toxic effect on bone forming cells
Do you even know that throughout our life, our body breaks down old bone and grows new bone? Read up on that in case you’re just hearing this for the first time.
COVID-19 does not exclude any gender. Men and women are vulnerable to the virus world over. Let’s keep staying safe, practice physical distancing and do not forget to mask up always. Visit www.theboxshowafrica.com for more on lifestyle tips.