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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by low bone mass, deterioration of bone tissue, decreased bone strength and a consequent increase in fracture risk. The most common fractures are those of the vertebrae (spine), proximal femur (hip) and distal forearm (wrist). It is unfortunately a silent disease until complicated by fractures since bone loss occurs without symptoms. First sign is a fracture that may be even due to a mild stress like for example bending over.

We are all at risk of developing osteoporosis especially if we have the following risk factors:

  • Genetic diseases (family history of fractures)
  • Endocrine disorders (Hyperthyroidism, diabetes)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders or renal disorders
  • Rheumatologic and autoimmune diseases
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Certain medications
  • Nutritional deficiencies of vitamin D, Calcium, and protein
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, thinness, high salt intake, sedentary lifestyle, frequent falling
  • Hormonal changes in women that occur throughout perimenopause and the immediate postmenopausal
  • Aging

There are many things you can do in order to prevent the disease occurrence; here are few tips:

  • First counsel on the risk of osteoporosis and related fractures
  • Maintain adequate calcium intake; use calcium supplements, if needed, to meet minimal required intake
  • Maintain adequate vitamin D intake (800-1,000 IU per day): supplement vitamin D, if needed, to maintain serum levels between 30 and 60 ng/mL
  • Limit caffeine intake and avoid or stop smoking
  • Maintain an active lifestyle, including weight bearing exercises
  • Take measures to reduce the risk of falling and consider the use of hip protector if you are at risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Measure height annually

If you are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, you can also benefit from those recommendations to prevent further bone loss; and you certainly need to adhere to your prescribed medications. Don’t forget your regular doctor checkups as well.