Osteoporosis is a common medical condition with a reported three million new cases each year. The International Osteoporosis Foundation reports that over 44 million Americans currently suffer from osteoporosis (IOF). Women are particularly at risk, especially as they age. Oohvie is here to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle with what you need to know about osteoporosis. Update Oohvie with your lifestyle habits to keep your provider informed.
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone density that results in fragile bones. Your bones get their strength from protein, collagen, and calcium. Bones with osteoporosis do not reabsorb these minerals as quickly or may absorb them too quickly, which leads to spongey or abnormally porous bones susceptible to fractures (Medical News Today, 2019). The hips, wrists, and spinal vertebrae are particularly at risk for osteoporotic breaks. In severe cases, something as simple as standing, walking, or sneezing can cause painful fractures.
Women at Risk for Osteoporosis
Women are particularly at risk for osteoporosis after menopause when estrogen levels decrease. Estrogen plays a part in defending women against osteoporosis. As estrogen levels decrease at thirty-five, the bones simultaneously break down old tissue faster than they can generate new tissue (Medical News Today, 2019). Race also plays a factor in risk as white and Asian people typically have higher rates of the condition than other ethnic groups. Being tall or thin can also increase the risk, along with genetic factors like having a relative that suffered from osteoporosis (Healthline, 2019).
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Because the condition develops with age, many people don’t realize they have it, at least not until they suffer a fracture from a minor injury. It’s even possible for osteoporotic fractures to remain undetected for years, especially in the spine, resulting in height loss or sometimes a hunching or curving of the vertebra known as the “dowager hump.” In the early stages, patients sometimes report receding gums, weak grip, or brittle nails (Healthline, 2019).
Prevention of Osteoporosis
While you can’t control health elements like your gender or the amount of estrogen you lose as you age, you can adjust your lifestyle. Inactivity and immobility encourage osteoporosis. To keep your bones healthy, stay active. Place controlled stress on your bones with weight-bearing exercises like yoga, walking, weights, resistance bands, etc. Exercise promotes bone growth (MedicineNet, 2020).
Diet plays a large role in bone health too. Women over twenty should start taking calcium supplements. The International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends about 1,000 milligrams a day to maintain your bone strength (IOF). Good food sources of calcium include dairies like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Green leafy veggies like kale and broccoli or fish like salmon or tuna are also excellent choices for regular calcium consumption. Vitamin D is what helps the body absorb calcium. As you monitor and increase your calcium intake, you should also include vitamin D fortified foods like fish and liver. Don’t forget the sunscreen, but spending a regular, moderate amount of time in the sun increases vitamin D levels (Medical News Today, 2019).
Treatments for Osteoporosis
There is no cure for osteoporosis, but treatment options are available. Your doctor may recommend treatment methods like prescription medication to lifestyle changes. Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake while increasing exercise to stay healthy. Make sure your doctor knows your personal habits and lifestyle patterns by updating them in the Oohvie app.
Shiel Jr. MD, William C. “Osteoporosis: Treatment, Symptoms, Causes, Medications, Exercise & Diet.” MedicineNet, MedicineNet, 8 Sept. 2020, www.medicinenet.com/osteoporosis/article.htm.
“Osteoporosis: Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 22 July 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155646.
“Prevention: International Osteoporosis Foundation.” International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), www.osteoporosis.foundation/patients/prevention.
Stang, Debra. “Everything You Need to Know About Osteoporosis.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 19 Aug. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/osteoporosis#symptoms.