Osteoporosis is a condition that involves loss of normal bone density. This leads to abnormally porous bone that is more compressible like a sponge, than dense like a brick. This disorder of the skeleton weakens the bone and leads to an increase in the risk of breaking or fracturing bones. Normal bone is composed of protein, collagen, and calcium. Bones that are affected by osteoporosis can fracture with only a minor fall that normally would not cause such an injury.
The condition can develop silently for decades because osteoporosis doesn't cause symptoms, only bone fractures. Some osteoporosis fractures may escape detection until years later, with patients unaware of their osteoporosis until they suffer a painful fracture. Then the symptoms are related to the location of the fractures.
Fractures of the spine can cause severe "band-like" pain that radiates around from the back to the side of the body. Over the years, repeated spine fractures can cause chronic lower back pain as well as loss of height or curving of the spine which can give individuals a hunched-back appearance.
There is no single cause of osteoporosis. Our bodies constantly build new bone and remove older bone. In childhood, more bone is built than removed, so the bones grow in size. After age 30 or 40, however, the cells that build new bone do not keep up with those that remove bone. The total amount of bone then decreases and osteoporosis may develop as a result.
The average rate of bone loss in men, and in women who have not yet reached menopause, is small. But after menopause, bone loss in women accelerates to an average of one to two percent a year. This is because after menopause, the level of the female hormone oestrogen in a woman's body sharply decreases. Oestrogen protects the skeleton by helping the body's bone-forming cells to keep working. After menopause, when the level decreases, some of this protection is lost.
The goal of osteoporosis treatment is to prevent bone fractures by stopping bone loss and increasing bone density and strength. This early detection and timely treatment of osteoporosis can substantially decrease the risk of future fracture.
None of the available treatments for osteoporosis are complete cures. It is difficult to completely rebuild bone that has been weakened by osteoporosis. Therefore, prevention of osteoporosis is as important as treatment.
Check with your doctor to discuss what medication is best for you. As a preventative measure, a solution is to supplement your diet with calcium-based medication Herron Calcium Plus with a ‘lifestyle program’ of exercise, diet and professional advice. This
will help to prepare your joints, bones and muscles for the future.
Physical activity pumps energy around your body. It increases oxygen and blood flow to your active muscles and ‘warms-up’ your joints so they can move more smoothly. Exercise also stimulates the release of endorphins (adrenaline) which are your body's own natural pain relievers.
Activities such as walking, cycling and swimming are also excellent. These activities are low-impact, so they minimise the stress on your joints. They also make your heart, lungs and muscles more efficient and boost your immune system function. Aerobic exercise really is the key to good health.
Quitting cigarette smoking, curtailing alcohol intake and consuming a balanced diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D can also help.
Your doctor can provide expert advice regarding safe participation in exercise and a healthy lifestyle to complement your medications or treatment. Your doctor can also provide referrals to other health professionals. This website also contains some excellent resources, so take some time to browse.
Your local pharmacist is also an excellent source of information on appropriate medications that may be helpful.