Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture). The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are: broken wrist.
There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you might have signs and symptoms that include:
• Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
• Loss of height over time
• A stooped posture
• A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
Your bones are in a constant state of renewal — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. After the early 20s this process slows, and most people reach their peak bone mass by age 30. As people age, bone mass is lost faster than it’s created. How likely you are to develop osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass you attained in your youth. Peak bone mass is partly inherited and varies also by ethnic group. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.
A number of factors can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis — including your age, race, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions and treatments.
Some risk factors for osteoporosis are out of your control, including:
1. Your sex – Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men.
2. Age – The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
3. Family history – Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk, especially if your mother or father fractured a hip.
4. Body frame size – Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they might have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
Bone fractures, particularly in the spine or hip, are the most serious complications of osteoporosis. Hip fractures often are caused by a fall and can result in disability and even an increased risk of death within the first year after the injury.
In some cases, spinal fractures can occur even if you haven’t fallen. The bones that make up your spine (vertebrae) can weaken to the point of collapsing, which can result in back pain, lost height and a hunched forward posture.
Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for keeping your bones healthy throughout your life.
Men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. This daily amount increases to 1,200 milligrams when women turn 50 and men turn 70.
Good sources of calcium include – Low-fat dairy products, Dark green leafy vegetables, Canned salmon or sardines with bones, Soy products, such as tofu, Calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice.
If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, consider taking calcium supplements.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D improves the body’s ability to absorb calcium and improves bone health in other ways. People can get some of their vitamin D from sunlight.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, and salmon. Many types of milk and cereal have been fortified with vitamin D.
Exercise can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Exercise will benefit your bones no matter when you start, but you’ll gain the most benefits if you start exercising regularly when you’re young and continue to exercise throughout your life.
Combine 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, jogging, running, stair climbing, skipping rope, skiing and impact-producing sports — affect mainly the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine. Balance exercises such as tai chi can reduce your risk of falling especially as you get older.
For any orthopaedic consultation, schedule an appointment with the expert Dr. Gaurav Bhargava, the best orthopaedic surgeon in Kanpur.