Save Your Bones From Breaking!
“Osteoporosis is the softening of the bones which predisposes a person to have fractures”
Women And Osteoporosis
Though the onset of osteoporosis is around 45-50 years, it is normally detected in a patient only when she turns 60-65 years. Until then, she may only complain of vague pains in the limbs, and general fatigue.
All women are likely to develop osteoporosis post 45-50 years of age as with menopause, the sex hormones in the body decrease, inducing a process by which the bones begin to get thinner. And this thinning process of the bones is known as osteoporosis, whereby the bones get brittle and tend to break, either at the wrist or at the spine. This really could be the first sign of osteoporosis.
Primary And Secondary Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is the softening of the bones which predisposes a person to have fractures. In simple terms, primary osteoporosis means decreased bone mass which is seen in postmenopausal women and the 60 plus age group. Secondary osteoporosis on the other hand, also afflicts younger women, nowadays.
Osteoporosis In Younger Women
Experts report an increasing incidence of osteoporosis in younger women, today. A study conducted in Britain by the University of Surrey and the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro shows a dramatic increase of osteopenia in women between the age of 20 and 29 which, unless treated properly, could develop into osteoporosis. The research has indicated that this is due to excessive weight loss, smoking and alcohol consumption, along with the obsession of a size zero figure.
- Reduced/deficient dietary intake to maintain the body figure
- Cigarette/alcohol abuse
- Sedentary lifestyle with lack of regular weight bearing exercises
- Medications like steroids
- Medical problems like hyperthyroidism and hysterectomy with removal of ovaries at a young age, can all lead to early osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can be prevented only if you lead a disciplined life before its onset, that is, at the age of 35 years. A strict routine of physical weight bearing exercises in the gym, walking, running and outdoor games can help build-up maximum bone mass before the age of 35 years. (Swimming is not considered a weight bearing exercise.)
Also, a good intake of calcium – 1000 units is ideal as a part of the daily diet and dairy products are the best source of calcium. For those who are intolerant to milk/ dairy products, 1000-l500mgs of calcium tablets divided in equal doses, of two-three in a day is advisable.
Regular two yearly DEXA scan and starting dietary supplements at the right time are equally important.
Osteoporosis can be managed with both non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic ways (the use of certain medicines).
Non Pharmacologic Ways Include:
- Intake of calcium and vitamin D3 supplements
- Exposure to sunlight
- Regular walks and exercises
- Minimal alcohol intake and cigarette smoking
- Removal of the secondary causes reverses osteoporosis