Osteoporosis is a long-lasting, multifactorial, progressive bone disease. It occurs in all genders and all races but is most frequently recognized in the elderly, postmenopausal women, Caucasians, and Asians. It presents serious health and socio-economic problems in the world since it diminishes the quality of life of the people afflicted with this disease.
Osteoporosis is characterized by bone fragility caused by architectural deterioration of the bone tissue. It is oftentimes overlooked and undertreated, and is sometimes referred to as the “Silent Disease” since it has no underlying symptoms and doesn’t become apparent until a fracture occurs.
Pain associated with osteoporosis happens after a fall, which usually revolves around 4-6 weeks. Osteoporosis affects all bones in the body however, people affected with osteoporosis on the spine usually become hunched and describe having sharp pain at a specific point at their back which sometimes radiates towards their abdomen.
Most of the time they lie motionless in bed to not worsen the pain. People affected by osteoporosis on their hips and their arms and legs have trouble with balance, walking properly, and weight-bearing.
It was previously thought that osteoporosis is an inevitable consequence of aging, but with the help of modern medicine, we now know that it’s eminently preventable. Here are some of the ways to manage osteoporosis:
1. Regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises– Exercising can improve strength and posture, and it can also delay bone loss. Activities such as walking or bicycling are generally recommended by medical professionals, with a focus on maintaining the person’s balance, since balance training is important in reducing the incidence of falls.
2. Regularly taking Vitamin D and Calcium, along with a balanced diet– Low Calcium in the diet causes the body to break bones down to get what it needs. People affected with osteoporosis need regular Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation to prevent bone loss and to increase Calcium absorption in the body respectively.
Also having a well-balanced diet helps in maintaining normal hormonal levels that can affect the normalcy of bone mass. You can get Calcium in low-fat or fat-free dairy milk, calcium-fortified juices and fruits, and salmon and sardines with bones. You can get Vitamin D in dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli.
3. Smoking and alcohol cessation– Studies show that smoking and drinking alcohol increases the chance of bone loss and fractures by two percent. Smoking also affects estrogen levels and activity in the body which can affect bone mass.
4. Drinking carbonated sodas– studies show that drinking sodas can lead to bone loss. It can either be from the phosphorus in the drinks that can affect calcium absorption, or from the substitution of dairy products to carbonated drinks.
5. Regular monitoring– periodic bone densitometry can detect the risk of developing osteoporosis early on and can be a preventive measure in having future bone fracture risks by giving early preventive measures.
6. Prevent falls by environmental measures– objects and places can cause a person to fall. We can prevent that by minimizing clutter; removing loose wiring that can trip people, removing rugs and using non-slip mats; ensuring well-lit hallways and stairs; encouraging patients to wear low-heeled shoes; and, installing handrails in bathrooms, hallways, and stairs.