Strengthen your bone and prevent osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a growing global problem. In Bangladesh, this problem is also rising as ageing population is increasing due to increased life expectancy. Every year 20th October is observed as world osteoporosis day launching a yearlong campaign dedicated to raising global awareness about osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition of bone characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue that may lead to weak and fragile bone. People suffering from osteoporosis have an increased risk of bone fracture. Statistically fracture occur one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 years due to osteoporosis. The common bones fractured are spine, hip and wrist bones.
Aetiopathology of osteoporosis
Normally there is bone turn over and remodeling throughout life. Most people reach their peak bone mass in their early 20s and the process of resorption usually start to outpace the process of formation by the age of 30 years, from this age there is usually a slow but steady loss of bone mass. (This is estimated to be about 0.3% per year). This slow and gradual loss of bone mass is accelerated at the age of menopause in women, and in men at the age of 50 years. Although the process of bone loss is natural there are some risk factors associated with the development of osteoporosis. Some of them are modifiable and others are non modifiable.
Risk factors for developing osteoporosis
Age: The most important risk factor for osteoporosis is advanced age, though osteoporosis can affect people of all ages it is far more common in older people. This is a non-modifiable risk factor.
Sex: Women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. About one in three women over the age of 50 years will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
Menopause: The sex hormone estrogen protects bone. Estrogen deficiency following menopause or surgical removal of ovaries correlated with rapid reduction in bone mineral density resulting in osteoporotic changes in the bones.
Family history: Hereditary factor and genetic predisposition play a major role in bone health. People with a family history of osteoporosis are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. There are at least 30 genes associated with the development of osteoporosis
Low body weight: People who are shorter in size and have thinner bones are more likely to develop osteoporosis and those who have a broken bone or height loss due to any cause, are more prone to develop osteoporosis.
Racial factor: People with European and Asian ancestry have a predisposition to develop osteoporosis.
Life style factors that can affect bone health
Calcium and vitamin D deficiency: Calcium is a mineral that is needed for maintaining healthy bones. Calcium is essential for bone formation and remodeling. In absence of adequate calcium, bone formation is insufficient and bone remodeling is also inadequate. Circulatory vitamin D deficiency is common among elderly people worldwide. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased parathyroid hormone production. PTH (parathyroid hormone) increases bone resorption which leads to bone loss resulting in osteoporosis.
Malnutrition: Nutrition has an important and complex role in maintenance of healthy bones; calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc play a role in bone remodeling. Eating a well balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetable calcium and vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K can maintain a healthy bone and prevent the development of osteoporosis.
Inactive lifestyle: People who have an inactive life style; those who are bed ridden for a prolonged period have a greater chance to develop osteoporosis.
Diseases and medication: Many diseases and some drugs are associated with the development of osteoporosis. Important ones include, hypogonadal state, endocrine disorders like cushing syndrome, hyperparathyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, and drugs include steroids, barbiturates, phenytoin. Judicious use of such drugs and treatment of the disease is essential for prevention.
How osteoporosis can be prevented
The most important and natural method for the prevention of osteoporosis is to change or modify the life style habits responsible for it.
However there are some medications that can also be used for its prevention as well.
There are 5 easy steps for prevention of osteoporosis:
i) Weight bearing exercise regularly.
ii) Ensure a balance diet rich in Calcium, Protein and Vitamin D.
iii) Avoid negative life style habits.
iv) Find out risk factors for osteoporosis if any.
v) Get tested & treat any such factors.
The role of weight bearing exercise
Since osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease its first line of attack occurs when people, especially menopausal women and elderly men loses their bone density rapidly. This is countered or prevented by a lifelong focus on load bearing exercise that stimulates bone cell to increases the bone density bearing exercise causes muscle to pull on the bone, while creating leaner muscle which in turn may positively affect joint mobility and flexibility. So making denser Bones through stress bearing exercises, increases the chances of preventing osteoporosis.
Role of nutritious diet in preventing osteoporosis
Recommended daily dose of calcium varies from 1000-1300 mg. This calcium needs to be taken with Vitamin-D as it helps in calcium absorption by the body. Adequate calcium and Vitamin-D taken together throughout the day reduces bone loss and positively stimulate bone density. Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can optimize bone health & help to prevent osteoporosis later in life, So adequate calcium and vitamin intake, along with exercise during childhood and adolescence can make the bones stronger, preventing osteoporosis.
Find out risk factor for osteoporosis, if find any, get tested and treat such factors
People who are at risk of osteoporosis need to be find out their risk factor for osteoporosis, require to get tested whether their bones are osteoporotic and require treatment for it. The best way to test for osteoporosis in dual-energy x-Ray absorptiometry scan. (DEXA Scan) It can determine the level of bone density.
So, build adequate bone mass in childhood and adolescent period. Maintain lifestyle habits throughout life, weight bearing exercise and taking adequate nutritious diet may help in preventing osteoporosis.