With osteoporosis, bones are brittle and often fracture or break. There are no symptoms prior to the osteoporosis bones’ shattering and the disease can only be detected through tests in your doctor’s office. You won’t automatically know your bones are getting thinner.
White and Asian women past menopause are most susceptible to the disease, but people of any age, race or gender can get it. 8 million American women and 2 million American men have the condition. It is estimated that 50 percent of American women will experience Osteoporosis in their lifetime. If you have osteoporosis, bone’s health is of paramount concern.
Spinal fractures are probably the most significant concern as 20 percent of people who develop this osteoporosis bones break will die within a year. Other areas commonly affected are the hip and wrist. Hip fractures limit mobility and often result in the sufferer having to move into an assisted living facility.
Some of the risk factors for osteoporosis include being female, being under 127 pounds, having a family history of the condition, being post menopausal, attaining an advanced age, abnormal menstrual periods, low testosterone in men, low or no dairy in the diet, having an inactive lifestyle, long term use of glucocorticoids, cigarette smoking, or drinking too much alcohol.
If you think you are at risk of osteoporosis, get a bone density scan. The DEXA is probably the best osteoporosis bones test, but there are a number of others. You should have your first bone density test by the time you are 65 to establish a baseline. Thereafter, every 2 or 3 years, you should have repeat tests to monitor whether your bones are getting more brittle.
The best way to prevent getting osteoporosis is to build strong bones in the first place. As a child and young adult, having a lot of calcium in your diet can set you up for a lifetime of bone health. But it is never too late to help your bones.
One of the best things you can do for your bones is to get enough calcium in your diet or through supplements. This is because bones are made of calcium. If you are over 50, you should get 1200 mg. of calcium a day. One cup of plain, fat free yogurt delivers 450 mg. of calcium and one cup of milk has 300 mg. of calcium in it.
Also, you should get 400 to 600 IU of Vitamin D in your diet. Milk is also a good source of Vitamin D with 98 IU. Salmon is also an excellent source with 360 IU.
You should also become physically active when you have osteoporosis. Bones are helped when you build muscle. Focus on weight bearing physical activity like walking, yoga, and lifting weights.
If you do come down with osteoporosis, there are a number of medications which can help. Again, talk to your doctor about your options. If you have osteoporosis, bones’ strength becomes an important health consideration for you.