Osteoporosis- Big word, bigger problem
This week we wanted to shine some light on a relatively
common problem encountered during the aging process. Osteoporosis, according to the American
College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “is a condition in which the bones become
thin, brittle, and weak.” It is five times more common in women than in men,
and typically occurs after menopause when estrogen production dramatically
decreases. Estrogen protects against
bone loss, and a decrease in the hormone level can trigger a period of rapid
bone loss. There are many risk factors that can cause or contribute to
Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus
Low calcium intake
Excess vitamin A
High caffeine intake
High salt intake
Aluminum (in antacids)
Alcohol (three or more
drinks per day)
activity or being immobile
Smoking (active or
A person with osteoporosis may not suffer from symptoms for
decades, and the most common symptom is bone fractures. There are several tests that can be done to
determine if you have osteoporosis, including a bone mineral density test
(BMD), which is recommended for all women 65 years or older, and those younger
than 65 who have risk factors. Other
tests can be done to further investigate the extent and severity of
osteoporosis, and estimate the risk of fractures.
While treatment for osteoporosis is available, various
medications can reduce the risk of fractures, and prevent osteoporosis,
prevention is always the best course of action.
A diet high in calcium, exercise, a healthy diet, and not smoking will
all help your bones stay strong.
Weight-bearing exercise is proven to help keep bones strong, and are
activities and exercises that require your bones and muscles to work against
gravity, such as yoga, Pilates and tai chi.
Strength training, and weight resistance is also beneficial to keeping
strong, healthy bones.
The doctors and practitioners at GPWHC can discuss your risk factors
for osteoporosis, and help you determine the risk you may face, and what you
can do to stop or prevent the painful fractures associated with this