Last week we talked to you about the Silent Killer – High Blood Pressure. Few people know that there is also a Silent Thief known as Osteoporosis. As always, we here at HCBL.com have worked hard to bring you the most accurate and up to date information regarding the conditions and awareness weeks that can affect you or your loved ones. This week we’ve put together a complete write up for you to explain what you need to know about Osteoporosis: what are the causes, what you can do to avoid this condition and the treatment options that you have available to you.
Osteoporosis is a condition which is naturally occurring and will affect everyone at one point in their life. This sounds somewhat worrying; however, to better understand how you are effected by osteoporosis you first need to understand the process itself and how the condition affects your body. 1“Your bone is continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down (resorption) — a process called remodeling or bone turnover. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. You reach your peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more than you gain.” So no matter what, your bones will eventually begin to break down faster than they rebuild themselves. But what causes this to happen? What can accelerate this condition? Most importantly, what can you do to prevent it from occurring?
There are many different factors that can cause the acceleration of osteoporosis, several of them are listed below:
Low Estrogen in Women
Low Testosterone in Men
Generic Hormone Imbalance
Lack of Calcium
Lack of Vitamin D
A Sedentary Lifestyle
Various Medical Conditions
One of the most common causes is a lack of Calcium and Vitamin D. The bones in your body contain two minerals in particular which are calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is the principle building block for rebuilding bone cells in your body when they break down. The depletion of calcium comes into play due to the fact that other organs and muscles in your body also rely on calcium for nutrients. Because calcium is stored in your bones, if your body doesn’t get it’s normal supply on a daily basis, then it starts to steal the calcium that’s stored in your bones, further retarding your bone rebuilding process and speeding up the process of osteoporosis. Vitamin D also plays a large role in osteoporosis because it is one of the principle vitamins which help your body absorb calcium. So if you have a low Calcium intake as well as a low Vitamin D intake, then your bones are constantly being depleted of the resources needed to rebuild themselves.
Another cause of osteoporosis is related to Thyroid levels. 2“High levels of thyroid hormone have long been linked to an increase in bone loss. ‘That’s always been a concern of most physicians,’ says Paul Mystkowski, MD, an endocrinologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, ‘but if you look at the long-term bone densities of patients who are on high doses of Thyroid pills, they’re not dramatically different, and their fracture risk isn’t dramatically different.’” In some cases, even without having a lack of minerals or imbalance in Thyroid hormones, the bones in your body can also become weakened from compression fractures.
3“In some cases, spinal fractures can occur even if you haven’t fallen or injured yourself. The bones in your back (vertebrae) can simply become so weakened that they begin to compress or collapse. Compression fractures can cause severe pain and require a long recovery. If you have many such fractures, you can lose height as your posture becomes stooped.”
There is still some very good news for this problem. Your bone density reaches it’s peak when you are around 30 years old, if your bone density is already high by this time it’s highly likely that you will not see an onset of osteoporosis. There are also various tests that you can get in order to determine your bone density. Depending on what your bone density results were your doctor may suggest several different types of medications to you which can help treat osteoporosis such as: 4“Bisphosphonates, Raloxifene, Calcitonin, Teriparatide, Hormone therapy, or Physical therapy.” Whichever your option is, the most important thing to keep in mind is to get your bone density checked when you start reaching an older age to make sure that you are not at risk for osteoporosis.
So what are some methods that don’t involve taking prescribed medicine to offset osteoporosis? There are actually exercises that you can do to keep your bones healthy and help to fight off this condition. 5“Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, that makes you work against gravity while staying upright.” Other exercises such as yoga, thai chi, and posture exercises may also benefit people who are effected with osteoporosis. Exercise is very key in keeping your body in balance, and preventing sudden injuries related to falling, or fall-related fractures.