Imagine if we had no bones in our body, we would just collapse like a big clump of jelly. Bones play a crucial role in the proper functioning of a body. They provide frame to our body just like photo frame does to a photograph. They protect integral parts such as heart, lungs, brain and kidneys. A human body has 206 bones; each one has its own importance. For instance, when we walk, it is because our bones and muscles are working together. The spinal column lets us stand upright and protects the spinal cord, which is part of the nervous system. Now a days, people, especially women are suffering from various types of bone diseases. Out of which the most common is Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition when bones become porous, weak and brittle. It causes when the bone mass decreases (density) and deterioration of bone tissue takes place. Bones become so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending can cause a fracture particularly of the hip, spine, wrist and shoulder.
Bone fractures, especially in the spine and hip, are the most serious complication of osteoporosis. Hip fractures often result from a fall and can result in disability and even death.
Osteoporosis does not develop overnight. You can lose bone mass slowly without experiencing any symptoms or signs of the disease. This is why, it is often known as “the silent thief.”
Hence, early detection of bone destiny is critical in preventing osteoporotic fractures. The test which can be done for the detection of the disease is Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test. The test checks how much calcium and other types of minerals are present in an area of your bone. Bone density testing can be done by many ways but the most common and accurate way uses a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan.
Causes or Risk Factors of Osteoporosis
There are number of factors that can cause the disease. They include:
- Sex Hormones: Low levels of sex hormone tend to weaken bone. In women, the decrease in estrogen levels at menopause is one of the biggest risk factors for developing osteoporosis. In men, a gradual decrease in testosterone levels can be the risk factor for the disease.
- Thyroid Problem: Too much thyroid hormone causes Osteoporosis. This can occur if your thyroid is overactive and when you take thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid. The disease has also been associated with overactive parathyroid and adrenal glands.
Lack of Calcium in the Body: Calcium plays a major role in the development of strong bones. Low calcium intake diminishes bone density, bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
Anorexia: Individuals who have anorexia are at higher risk of osteoporosis. Anorexia is an eating disorder when a person has a fear of gaining weight, a strong desire to be thin and food restriction. Many people with anorexia believe they are overweight even though they are underweight. Low food intake can reduce the amount of calories, protein and calcium ingested. Anorexia can stop menstruation in women, leading to weaker bones. In men, anorexia reduces the amount of sex hormones in the body which can weaken bones.
Inactivity: People who spend majority of their time sitting have a higher risk of osteoporosis.
Excessive Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption: Regular consumption of alcoholic drinks and tobacco increases the risk of osteoporosis.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
- Age: The older you get the risk of osteoporosis increases.
- Genetics: Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk of the disease.
- Body Structure: People who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
How to Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis
Healthy Diet for Osteoporosis Includes:
Sufficient amount of Calcium and Vitamin D
Vitamin D and Calcium are very essential for strong bones. They both are interrelated. Vitamin D in body helps to absorb the consumed calcium from food.
Foods rich in Calcium are:
- Dairy products such as cheese, Cream, low-fat milk, tofu and yogurt
- Vegetables such as broccoli, turnips, kale, spinach, spring onions and lady figure
Good dietary sources of Vitamin D include:
- Fish such as salmon and mackerel, Fish liver oil
- Sunlight (Body synthesizes its own vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight)
- Beef and Chicken
- Cereals, juices, milk products, cheese, yogurt, and margarine
Other nutritional supplements that may potentially help strengthen bones include Boron, Copper, Docosahexaenoic cid (DHA), Folic acid, vitamin B6, Manganese, Silicon, Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA Strontium and Zinc).
Quit Smoking and Excessive Drinking
There is a direct relationship between smoking and decreased bone density. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Too much alcohol can interfere with the balance of calcium in the body and affect the secretion of hormones and vitamins that play a major role in building healthy bones.
Cutting back on Salt and Caffeine
Both caffeine and salt can contribute to calcium and bone loss. To improve bone health, switch to non-caffeinated drinks, avoid soft drinks and reduce the salt intake.
Like muscle, bone becomes stronger when you exercise. The best exercise for bones is that forces your body to work against gravity. This type of exercise includes walking, stair climbing, dancing, etc.
For a person who suffers from osteoporosis; nutrition, exercise and fall prevention play a key role in reducing risks of fracture and bone loss. So, accelerate towards the healthy lifestyle to beat the risk of osteoporosis.
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