|Why Should I Worry About Oseoporosis?|
|Causes of Oseoporosis?|
Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density, causing weak and fragile bones that fracture and break easily. Your genes, age, and lifestyle all affect your chances of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis literally means ìporous bones,î and is also known as the "e;silent thief"e;Osteoporosis happens gradually over years, and is not noticeable until a fracture or break occurs. Generally, older people, primarily older women, suffer from osteoporosis.
Women are 4 times more prone to developing osteoporosis than men.
There are three types of osteoporosis; Senile, postmenopausal, and secondary.
Senile Osteoporosis usually results from aging, and affects men and women about equally. Age causes a decrease in bone cell activity, affecting the ability to rebuild bone, resulting in bone fractures and breaks.
Postmenopausal Osteoporosis is caused by a decreased level in estrogen. This type of osteoporosis usually prevails about ten to fifteen years after the onset of menopause. Estrogen allows for calcium absorption, vital for bone growth and maintenance. A lack of estrogen, therefore, causes less calcium to be absorbed by the bones than is necessary. This causes thinning and weakening of the bones in the form of Osteoporosis.
Secondary Osteoporosis is caused by other underlying conditions such as cancer, hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyrodism, gastrectomy, eating disorders, kidney problems, osteogenesis imperfecta, among others. [ To Top ]
If older people develop osteoporosis, why should we care about it at such a young age?
Osteoporosis is a treatable, but not curable condition. Most importantly, osteoporosis can be prevented or its effects can be delayed with a few simple lifestyle changes starting at a young age.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bones, providing for rigidity and growth. Women between the ages of 11 to 24 need an increased amount of Calcium a day since those are the Calcium-storing years. Most of the bodyís bone density is formed before puberty, ending anywhere between ages 25 to 30, when peak bone density is reached.
Bones constantly undergo a process called remodeling. In this process, bones are continuously broken down and rebuilt. This process provides for a constant level of calcium in the blood, which is necessary for muscle contraction, a proper heartbeat, blood circulation, and blood clotting. Bone make-up and this regulation process prove the significance of Calcium in our diets. After peak bone density is reached, bones break down much more quickly than they are built up, leading to a decline in bone density, sometimes resulting in osteoporosis. The lower the bone density is, the higher the risk of breaks and fractures that may lead to further complications.
Not everybody reaches an equal peak bone density; it is genetically determined. Some of us have the potential to reach a higher peak bone density than others, but other factors come into play as well. Whether followed correctly or incorrectly, the following factors can either promote or prevent osteoporosis.
The following factors increase a personís risk for developing osteoporosis:
The underlying theme in the above-mentioned risk factors is Calcium absorption and loss of Calcium through urinations or defecation. All of the conditions either prevent Calcium absorption or promote Calcium loss. Both cause the body to depend on the Calcium from the bones to maintain proper levels in the blood. [ To Top ]
Now that we understand the significance of Calcium in our bodies, and how easily Calcium is lost from our bodies, we need to understand how to prevent such loss and maintain what we already have.
The most obvious way to prevent osteoporosis is to increase Calcium intake. Calcium is contained in high amounts in dairy products, fish, soybeans, tofu, and dark green vegetables as well as in Calcium supplements. An increase in Calcium intake leads to a higher bone density. Women between the ages of 11 and 24 need at least 1,200 mg of Calcium a day, while other premenopausal women need about 1,000 mg. (Careful, too much Calcium can cause kidney stones).
Another way to increase bone density is exercise. Weight-bearing exercises put stress on the bones, allowing for mass buildup. Such exercises include:
Bones also need Vitamin D for Calcium absorption from the intestine to the bloodstream and into the bone. Simple sun exposure provides for necessary Vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D can also be integrated into oneís diet, along with other necessary vitamins for a healthy lifestyle.
Leading a healthy lifestyle with low alcohol and caffeine consumption also helps prevent osteoporosis. Not smoking and eating balanced diets without skipping meals also play a significant role in osteoporosis prevention.
Leading healthy lifestyles and developing proper habits at a young age, helps prevent complications later in life. Osteoporosis is easily preventable (or delayed) by integrating the simple steps mentioned above into your lifestyle. Treat your body right and it will treat you right in return. [ To Top ]