Is Osteoporosis Preventable? Absolutely!! I am sure everyone agrees that by now there has been an incredible push for supplementing calcium in an effort to slow or halt bone loss. This appears to be sound medical advice, however, osteoporosis amounts to more than just a lack of dietary calcium. Osteoporosis is actually a complex condition involving hormones, lifestyle, nutritional factors, and environmental factors being in balance. The definition of Osteoporosis is literally porous bones.
Bone loss in individuals with Osteoporosis is usually greatest in the spine, hips, and ribs. Since these bones bear the weight of the body, they are more susceptible to pain, deformity, or fracture. It has been documented that bone loss may occur as early as 35 years of age, and is accelerated in those with Osteoporosis.
So, if you have a family history of Osteoporosis, (remember, Osteoporosis affects both men and women) get started on a prevention program today that includes moderate weight bearing exercise, a balanced diet (not too heavy on the proteins), hormone evaluations for normal levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and nutritional supplementation targeted towards building bone.
Osteoporosis Information: For the Youth and the Elderly
According to an article in Reuters, a recent study conducted by Dr. Anna Nordstrom as well as other researchers from the Umea University in Sweden show that exercise in the young formative years proves effective in lasting bone-building. The study evaluated athletes as well as non-athletes and found that those who had been training throughout their teenage years had a greater bone mineral density (BMD) than those who were not as active. It also compared those teenagers who had been active but stopped being active to those who remained active into early adulthood, finding that once the activity had stopped or decreased they showed a greater BMD loss. This finding proves, yet again, another reason to keep our youth physically active, but also gives us vital information for future generations in the prevention of Osteoporosis.
Exercise is important because just like every other part of our bodies if you don’t use it your body stops making necessary adjustments to protect it. When you do weight bearing exercises (exercises that work against gravity) such as walking, jogging or dancing then you put additional pressure on your bones, which tells your body to make those bones stronger in order to handle the added pressure. Therefore, activities like walking, jogging and dancing help to build bone mass in your hips, a common site of fractures, which is one of the most prevalent and grave complications of Osteoporosis. Other common fracture sites are the spine, wrists, forearms, feet and toes. Tennis is also a very helpful weight bearing exercise that helps with all of the common problem zones.
If you have already been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, have other health conditions or haven’t exercised in a very long time, please consult your physician before starting a new exercise program. There are Osteoporosis specialists; many of them are gynecologists, endocrinologists, orthopedic surgeons and geriatricians. Another important reason to exercise is that it strengthens muscles and improves coordination, which helps to prevent falls and thus fractures.
Calcium and Vitamin D intake are also necessary to avoid Osteoporosis or the worsening of it. Luckily, many of the products that we purchase as consumers have been fortified in calcium and Vitamin D; be sure to consume a variety of calcium rich foods throughout the day. It is advised to spread calcium intake throughout the day for better absorption, and of course Vitamin D is also necessary for absorption. Spending 15 minutes daily in the sun is one way of getting the daily requirements for Vitamin D. For the benefits of Osteoporosis, supplementation is still needed.
Considering that Osteoporosis affects at least half of all women over the age of 50, and the number of men affected by it is increasing, as well as the fact that much of America is obese as well as inactive, we need to take this information in and act on it. More than 1.5 million debilitating fractures occur every year, and those numbers are also increasing. According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “Complications such as blood clots after surgery result in death in almost 20 percent of all hip fractures.” And, “Almost 25 percent of people suffering from a hip fracture will end up in a nursing home.” Our retirement years should be spent traveling, visiting loved ones, and enjoying our twilight years. We can work actively today, no matter the age, to control our quality of life later.