Each time we move, walk, run, sit, and stand our bones support our body in doing so. They lay the foundation of our body structure. Osteoporosis is a condition of the bones that make them brittle, fragile and exposed to fractures. These fractures mainly occur in the wrist, spine and in the hip. This article further describes the causes and ways to prevent osteoporosis.
The Overview: Osteoporosis is caused when bones lose essential minerals like calcium more rapidly than the body can restore them. As a result the bones lose their density subjecting them to fractures. This disease advances slowly over a period of time. In most cases, it isn’t diagnosed until one suffers a major painful fracture. A fracture in this case might lead to loss of height due to bone loss, structural deformities like Dowager’s hump of the back, deformities of the spine, chronic pain and possibly premature death. Irrespective of their age or sex osteoporosis can affect men and women of all ages.
The Root Cause: Our bones constantly change wherein the old bone is always being replaced by a new one in a slow process called remodeling. Our bone density is the highest in our 20’s and may tend to lose the same due to varied factors.
• Low calcium: It’s a well-known fact that we need to enrich our diet with calcium to ensure stronger bones. But it is not just the bones that require calcium. Vital organs like the heart, nerves muscles need adequate amounts of calcium. Hence if there is low calcium within our blood these organs tend to rob calcium to support their functions thus depleting supply to the bones, making them fragile.
• Low Estrogen levels: Women who are menopausal see a sudden drop in their estrogen levels as a result of which they are subjected to bone loss. Also women who have had their ovaries removed prematurely through oophorectomy have reported to experience considerable bone loss.
• Low testosterone levels in men: Men convert testosterone into bone conserving estrogen. Hence when the testosterone levels dip there is bone loss leading to osteoporosis.
• Lack of Vitamin D: Vitamin D facilitates absorption of calcium and aids its utilization. It acts more like a hormone than vitamin. Hence lack of Vitamin D can lead to decrease in bone density
• Thyroid Issues: Higher levels of thyroid in one’s body are known to cause bone loss. Hence anyone on thyroid pills of higher concentration are likely to be subjected to osteoporosis
• Smoking: Studies show that bone loss is one the many adverse effects of nicotine on one’s body. It hampers the apt utilization of estrogen, calcium and vitamin D.
Preventive measures: One out of every 2 women and 1 one of every 3 men is likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Hence it is critical to maintain good bone health to avoid untimely fractures. Following are the preventive measures one can take to avoid having osteoporosis at a later age.
• Regular exercise is the key: As per WebMD, vigorous physical activity during the teens can lay foundation for better bone health in the years to come. Exercises like walking, jogging, dancing keep the bones functioning regularly thus avoiding osteoporosis
• Eat Healthy: A nutritious diet that includes adequate amounts of Vitamin D, and calcium can help prevent osteoporosis. Having a glass of milk regularly that is fortified with Vitamin D is highly advisable. Including Soy products like tofu in one’s diet helps avoid osteoporosis.
• Keep alcohol at bay: Alcohol consumption significantly reduces bone remodeling hence it is advised not that men should not have more than 2 alcohol drinks per day and women not more than one alcohol drinks per day.
• A big No to smoking: Nicotine has got dire effects on bone function. It is essential to quit smoking to ensure proper utilization of calcium and Vitamin D in the body.