Osteoporosis is a disease which results in fragile and porous bones, greatly increasing the risk of fractures. Often there are no symptoms until it’s too late and a bone has been broken. Worldwide, one in three women and one in five men who are 50 or over will have a bone that is broken due to osteoporosis.
Are there risk factors for osteoporosis?
- Poor nutrition and poor overall health. Eating a healthy diet and taking care of yourself physically will reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Exercise, enough vitamin D and enough calcium are important. Diseases which cause you to have difficulty absorbing nutrients can also put you at risk. For example, celiac disease.
- Low estrogen levels which generally occur in menopause or after the removal of both ovaries.
- Being female, Caucasian or Asian. If your mother had a hip fracture due to osteoporosis your chances of having a hip fracture will double.
- Having a small, thin body frame.
- High alcohol intake, drinking too much coffee and cigarette smoking can use up important nutrients that protect your bones.
- Use of some medications such as Dilantin, Heparin and Prednisone can cause osteoporosis.
Protect yourself from developing osteoporosis by eating a healthy diet with enough calcium. Avoid weight loss diets or those that are centered around only one food group. Weight bearing exercises help to build bones. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym and life weights! One of the easiest weight bearing exercises is walking. Avoid alcohol and smoking. Many of us are prescribed medications that lead to osteoporosis. Speak with your doctor about supplements that will help replace any lost calcium or vitamin D. Get a bone density test. This will show whether or not you have thinning bones in which case your health care provider can suggest treatments.
October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day. Find more information and resources click here.