May 072014

What is Osteoporosis?

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What is Osteoporosis?

In simple terms, osteoporosis is a condition characterized by thin and porous bones, leading to decreased bone strength. Weak bones are fragile, putting them at increased risk of fracture.

Prevention

– Take vitamin D daily. Vitamin D helps our body to absorb and use calcium from our diet/supplements, increase muscle strength and increase bone strength. Dosage recommendations can be found here.
– Ensure you consume adequate amounts of calcium. Calcium helps prevent broken bones. Dosage recommendations can be found here. Taking too much calcium has been linked to heart problems and kidney stones. Be sure to talk to your doctor before changing your dosage or taking any new medications, supplements or vitamins.
– Eat a balanced diet.
– Avoid excessive use of caffeine, alcohol and salt.
– Stay active. Maintain your muscle mass and stay at a healthy weight. Try walking, dancing, climbing stairs or strength training using resistance bands.

Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the chance you will develop osteoporosis — including your age, race, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions and treatments. You have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis if you are older than 65, smoke, consume three or more alcoholic drinks daily, have a family history of osteoporosis, used steriods for extended periods, are obese or underweight, or experienced early menopause. Follow this link to an Osteoporosis Canada checklist that will help you assess your risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture.

Symptoms

There usually are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have signs and symptoms that include:

– Back pain caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
– Loss of height over time
– A stooped posture
– A bone fracture that occurred from a low-force impact that would not normally cause a bone to break

When to see a doctor

You should talk to your doctor about osteoporosis if you experienced early menopause, took corticosteroids for several months at a time or have a family history of hip fractures.

Diagnosis

Your bone density can be measured with a bone mineral density test. This painless and safe test measures the density of your bones using low levels of x-ray. This test determines the proportion of mineral content in your bones.

Osteoporosis can be prevented. If the disease has started, its progress can be slowed though treatment. People who have osteoporosis and suffer a bone fracture can, through treatment, reduce their risk of another fracture by 40% to 60%.

To learn more

Visit these websites to learn more about bone health and nutrition:

References

1. Osteoporosis Canada, Osteoporosis at-a-glance. Retrieved from: http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/

2. Mayo Clinic, Diseases and Conditions, Osteoporosis. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/basics/definition/con-20019924

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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