Exploring Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis plays a significant role in many people’s lives, increasing their chances of breaking their bones during falls. Sadly, this condition is widespread, affecting around 54 million people in the United States, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. It is generally more common in women; studies estimate that approximately one in two women are affected, compared to one in four men. People living with osteoporosis must understand the condition. This understanding will allow them to seek a successful form of relief. To help you do this, let us take a closer look at what osteoporosis is and how you can get help.
What Is Osteoporosis?
Like other living materials, bones can grow over time. Osteoporosis affects the rate at which your body can repair bones, causing this rate to decrease as you become older. This slow-down can cause your bones to become more brittle. Brittleness increases the chances of breaking your bones during a fall, which can cause pain. The spine, hip, and wrist bones tend to be most at risk of breaking during a fall.
Who Is at Risk?
There is a range of reasons you might develop a condition such as osteoporosis. However, some groups might be at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. First, women tend to have lighter, thinner bones, making them twice as likely to develop the condition. Also, age plays a crucial role in determining risk levels. Usually, most of the symptoms do not start to present until you are older.

For this reason, people who are over 30 tend to have higher risk levels. Your genes can also play a role, and if your parents have this condition, you might also get it. Your ethnicity can also play a role; Caucasian and Asian women are more likely than women of other ethnic groups to develop osteoporosis. Finally, if you have broken bones in the past, they tend to be weaker. If you fall into one of these groups, you should make sure to be vigilant for the symptoms of osteoporosis.
Signs and Symptoms
Osteoporosis is a severe condition, so early diagnosis is critical. It will allow you to take steps to try to minimize the impact that this disease can have on your life. However, it can often be very difficult to spot, because significant symptoms usually do not present. Unfortunately, the most common way to find out that you have this disease is by breaking a bone. Some other potential warning signs include back pain or a hunch in your posture. These signs can mean that your spine is not as healthy as it once was. Also, you should talk to your doctor if you start to experience height loss. Finally, if you are at risk, you might want to get more regular doctor’s appointments. Regularly visiting a doctor will give you the best possible chance of spotting this disease early.
Diagnosis
There are multiple techniques a doctor will use to diagnose you with osteoporosis. First, your doctor will want to check your bone density. Doctors can do this using a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) exam. This exam will take measurements of the amount of bone you have in key areas such as your hips and spine. Generally, this test only takes about fifteen minutes to complete. The results of this test will often be able to tell you whether you have osteoporosis. Diagnosing osteoporosis is done by looking at your bone mineral density (BMD), measured by T-score. Generally, you need a T-score of less than 2.5 to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. After the test has been completed, your doctor will be able to go through your results with you, explaining them in depth.

The results of this test can also give a range of other relevant information. First, your doctor will be able to see whether your bone density is improving, declining, or remaining consistent. He or she can also use these results to determine how likely you are to break one of your bones in the future. Finally, when you get this test done, your doctor will be able to draw conclusions about how well a potential osteoporosis treatment is working. If your bone density has continued to decline, the doctor can try a different form of therapy that might suit you better.
Treatment
After getting the DXA results and being diagnosed with osteoporosis, you might be looking for some effective treatment. Often, the best place to start is with your doctor. He or she will be able to give you medications you can try. These medications will give your bones the nutrients they need to help them grow. Your doctor might also try to control the amount of bone loss you experience.

Moreover, there are various lifestyle changes you can implement to help treat your osteoporosis. First, you should try to change your diet. A proper diet will give your body the nutrients it needs to help grow strong bones. It is particularly important to implement a diet high in calcium and vitamin D. For example, you should make sure to eat plenty of dairy products, fish, fruit, and vegetables. You might also be able to get dietary supplements, which you can add to your diet to increase your intake of nutrients. To get the best possible diet, you might want to consult with a nutritionist or get more specialized advice from your doctor.

Furthermore, increasing the amount of exercise you get can be helpful. More physical activity will reduce the amount of strain you place on your bones. Generally, there are two main types of physical activity you will need to perform. First, you might try more weight-bearing exercises. These will help you reduce your chances of falling. For example, you might want to try hiking on uneven terrain or dancing.

Additionally, you might want to do muscle-strengthening exercises to build more powerful muscles. Some examples of this sort of activity include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and yoga. Regardless of what exercises you choose, you should be careful. If you slip or fall, you could fracture a bone. For this reason, you might want to consult with a physiotherapist who will be able to create a customized fitness plan.
Prevention
Finally, if you are at risk of osteoporosis, you should start taking preventive measures. These can include increasing the amount of exercise you do, which will help with fall prevention. Likewise, you might want to start making dietary changes, such as adding more key nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin D, to your diet. Furthermore, you should book more regular visits to the doctor, so he or she can use tools such as a DXA to keep track of your BMD. You might also want to consider removing risk factors such as drinking alcohol and smoking from your life.

Multiple studies have found that heavy drinking can have a significant negative impact on your bone density. In some cases, drinking at a young age can cause your bone density to decline, increasing your risks of developing osteoporosis as you grow older. This decline in bone density might continue even if your drinking stops. Moreover, alcohol might increase your chances of a fall, as it disrupts your balance. It would be best if you also considered quitting smoking, which has been linked to a decrease in bone density. There are multiple resources that can help you with quitting.

You might also want to start thinking about some methods of fall prevention. Often, making a few small changes can drastically reduce your likelihood of falling. For example, you can add handrails to the stairs to give you more stability and confidence. Also, you can wear low-heeled shoes to improve your balance. You might also consider purchasing a hip protection device. This device provides padding, which will help reduce the severity of any injuries you might receive if you fall.
Conclusion
Osteoporosis is one of the most common conditions affecting older individuals in the United States, with millions experiencing this disease. We discussed some of the causes of osteoporosis and how you can reduce your risks. We also looked at how you can treat this condition and how to reduce your chances of falling and breaking a bone so that if you or someone you know has osteoporosis, you will be able to deal with the effects of this disease.

Posted on 11/09/2019


Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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