Guest Author - Dr. Denise Howard
Osteoporosis is a condition of thinning bones that increases the risk of fracture with minimal trauma. Typically these breaks occur in the hip and spine resulting in chronic pain, disability, and sometimes death. A major factor in the development of this problem is peak bone mass achieved. Everyone loses bone density over time but those with thicker bones are less likely to develop osteoporosis.
15% of women will develop a hip fracture by age 80. Once a woman develops one fracture, she is at greater risk of developing a second. One study showed that those with a vertebral fracture have a 19% chance of developing a 2nd fracture within 1 year. All of this is due to Osteoporosis.
Identifying women who are at risk is important so that preventative measures and early treatment can be undertaken. The overall goal is the prevention of fractures. The following are common factors that are associated with the development of osteoporosis and related fractures.
Postmenopausal women Certain Medical disorders
Early Menopause Certain Medications
Poor Calcium absorption Vitamin D Deficiency
Low body weight History of fractures
Steroid use Family history of fractures
Smoking Excessive alcohol consumption
There are simple things that can be done to prevent the development of this problem and related fractures. These are strategies that can be adopted by anyone.
• Calcium and Vitamin D in diet or via supplements. 1200 mg of calcium and 400-800 international units of Vitamin D.
• Muscle Strengthening: weight bearing, aerobic, strength training, and stretching. Protects against osteoporosis, fractures and falls. Improves flexibility and balance.
• Fall prevention in those at risk: dizziness, poor vision, decreased mobility, poor muscle strength and coordination, and urinary incontinence.
• Smoking cessation
• Moderate alcohol consumption
Osteoporosis is a condition that is preventable and treatable. All women and kids should get adequate Calcium and Vitamin D in their diet. Regular exercise, 3-4 times per week for at least 30 minutes has been proven to be effective in maintaining bone density and even reversing bone loss. The other benefits are improved coordination and increased muscle strength minimizing the risks of falls.
Diagnostic tools should be utilized in those at risk allowing for early diagnosis and appropriate intervention. All women who have risk factors or who are over age 65 should undergo bone density testing.
I hope this article has provided you with information that will help you make wise choices, so you may:
Live healthy, live well and live long!