Osteoporosis is a condition that affects many people after the age of 40. Learn symptoms, causes, risk factors, and prevention tips to avoid osteoporosis and more.
Osteoporosis is characterized by an abnormally low bone mass and defect in bone structure. This makes the bone unusually fragile and at greater risk of fracture.50 million people in India are either osteoporotic or have low bone mass. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men above the age of 50 experience osteoporotic fractures.
Bone loss starts from the age of 30-40 years in both men and women. Additionally, in women, menopause is followed by an immediate decrease in bone mass and density within a year.
Must read about - Osteoporosis Causes, Symptoms & Prevention
So who is at risk?
Here are a few common symptoms seen in patients with Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is initially asymptomatic. At times, you may not even know you have osteoporosis until you break a bone.
Normally, you would only break a bone if you meet with an accident. However, if you have osteoporosis, your bones become so weak they may break from a gentle bump, lifting something heavy, or even sneezing.
A few other symptoms are:
A bone mineral density scan (DEXA) is used to screen for osteoporosis. In most cases, only a few bones are checked usually in the hip, wrist and spine. Depending on the cause, your doctor may ask for some other laboratory investigations like Serum calcium, Vitamin D, Serum iPTH etc
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Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent Osteoporosis:
Prevention begins at an early age. Start caring for your bones, especially if you're still below the age of 30. Regular exercise and a healthy nutritious diet are essential for keeping your bones healthy
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Eat foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D and Protein:
An average healthy adult requires 1000mgs of Calcium each day. Your requirement increases as you age. Good sources of calcium include:
Vitamin D improves your body's ability to absorb calcium and improves your bone health. Expose your skin to early morning sunrays for 20 to 30 minutes every day. Expose yourself to early morning sunlight for 15 to 20 mins. Supplements for Vitamin D can be taken depending on the deficiency.
Exercise helps in building strong bones and delays the bone loss. Start early to get the most benefits out of exercise. Combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing and balance exercises for the best results.
Your doctor may advise medications depending on your risk for fractures and the result of the Bone density scan.
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Hormone replacement therapy may be advised for post-menopausal women and testosterone may be advised for men in whom osteoporosis is due to lack of testosterone.
If you have osteoporosis, its extremely important to avoid falls. Falling over can make you more likely to break a bone.
Here are some tips you can follow to prevent falls:
Osteoporosis can lead to complications such as bone death or stress fractures if neglected. Start caring for your bones as early as you can, after all, 'Prevention is better than cure.'
Article byDr. Ganesh Reddiah Chunduri, MBBS, FRCS (Glasgow)
Consultant Orthopedician, CallHealth
Have a question?Consult Dr. Ganesh online.