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Could I develop osteoporosis?

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is the term used to describe weak brittle bones. New bone growth occurs regularly in the body. Because bone is living tissue, old bone breaks down and new bone is laid down. With osteoporosis, new bone does not replace the old bone at the same rate. Thus, the body loses too much bone or the new bone does not form quickly enough. This creates bone which is less dense, more fragile, and weak.

Osteoporosis increases your risk of developing fractures, causes changes in your posture because of bone changes that develop from weaker bones, and causes pain in your spine or extremities. Loss of height is also a symptom of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men. Women who are past menopause are at highest risk of osteoporosis.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Unmodifiable Risks

Bone formation slows down once you are in your 30s. Old bones are not replaced as fast as they are lost. And for women, after menopause bone breaks down even faster because of estrogen deficiency. Bone formation and loss is also influenced by body structure, ethnicity, family history and some medical conditions.

Modifiable Risks

Osteoporosis risk is also influenced by lifestyle, eating habits, tobacco use and alcohol use.

Having adequate sources of Vitamin D and Calcium in your diet are important to keep your bones strong. Also, a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of osteoporosis. Excessive alcohol or tobacco use increases your risk of osteoporosis as well.

Long-term use of steroid medications can also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis because it can increase bone loss.

Treatment and Prevention

  • Osteoporosis is treated with medications

    • Hormones-address estrogen deficiency

    • Bisphosphonates-stops the body from resorption of bone tissue

    • Anabolics-builds bone

    • Biologics-slows or stops damaging inflammation

  • Supplements

    • Vitamin D

    • Calcium

  • Physical therapy

    • Weight-bearing exercises-build more bone mass

    • Resistance exercises-stress on bones causes new bone growth activity

    • Balance training-prevent falls

  • Lifestyle changes

    • Stay active

    • Limit alcohol and tobacco consumption

    • Get adequate nutrition which includes Vitamin D and calcium in your diet

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