Osteoporosis: the Hidden Danger
Osteoporosis, a condition that can weaken your bones, strikes without warning and causes severe injuries—an individual with osteoporosis could suffer a bone fracture from things as slight as bending over or coughing.
Bones, being living tissue, need to be constantly replenished to retain their strength. Osteoporosis is triggered when our bodies cannot replenish bone mass at the rate that it is lost, making our bones brittle and weak.
What causes Osteoporosis?
When we are young our bodies bone mass replenishment rate is very fast resulting in growth, however once we enter our 20s this rate slows and the body seeks to maintain the bone mass acquired in our youth.
As we age there are a number of factors to consider when evaluating the risk for osteoporosis; age, lifestyle, medical conditions, and current treatments.
Age plays a factor in an individuals risk of osteoporosis, because, as our bodies age their ability to replace bone mass diminishes. This can be especially problematic later in life when levels of estrogen (in women) and testosterone (in men) drop, this affects the bodies ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals necessary to replenish losses in bone density.
Our lifestyle choices have a huge role in our risk for developing osteoporosis. Individuals who partake in activities that are strenuous and place emphasis on using bones for support, tend to develop very strong bones as a result these individuals have a reduced risk for osteoporosis. However, individuals who remain sedentary and demand less from their bones are at an increased risk of developing no only osteoporosis, but a host of other health issues.
Some individuals who are being treated for dietary issues or with steroids have trouble building strong bones because of the medications they have to take. These medications often inhibit the bodies ability to absorb the nutrients needed to rebuild bone mass. Anorexia and other eating disorders affect the bodies ability to not only maintain healthy hormone levels, but also deprive the body of necessary nutrients, all causing an increased risk for osteoporosis.
How Can Osteoporosis be Prevented?
While their is no sure fire way to prevent osteoporosis, there are steps that can be taken to greatly reduce the risk. These steps start from birth; when a child is born the first few years are critical for developing the necessary foundation for healthy bone growth. It is this initial bone development that often dictates how the body will cope with bone mass replacement as it ages.
For those who are beyond the formative years it is essential to maintain a health diet that is high in calcium. Calcium plays a crucial role in the bodies ability to replace bone mass. In addition to a healthy diet it is important to stay active. Simple weightlifting and running (to name a few activities) go a long way to strengthening the bodies bone structure.
How Do I Know if I Have Osteoporosis?
Often times, most people have no idea that they have osteoporosis until they suffer an injury related to reduced bone density. This often is the case after a fall—or even during a coughing fit in severe cases.
One very effective step that can be taken to screen for osteoporosis is a DEXA scan. If this scan proves to show abnormal results the necessary steps can be taken to reverse the osteoporosis. We here at AFM offer DEXA scans and offer effective treatments for osteoporosis.
If you need more information about osteoporosis or would like to schedule a DEXA screening feel free to contact us at: (425) 453-6838.