To learn how to prevent osteoporosis, you must first understand the causes.
Osteoporosis is the result of thinning bone tissue due to a lack of calcium and phosphate. These minerals are integral in normal bone formation and the body uses them to produce its bone tissue. Bone production suffers when a person does not get enough calcium or cannot absorb enough calcium through the diet. Ultimately, if there is not enough new bone produced or there is too much bone reabsorbed by the body, the prognosis probably is osteoporosis. Those afflicted with the disease can simultaneously produce too little new bone tissue and have too much bone tissue reabsorbed by the body. Reabsorbed calcium and phosphate from the bones result in weak, fragile bones. They become so weak that fractures occur in the absence of any trauma or injury.
The early stages of the disease may not present with appreciable symptoms and bone loss goes undetected for many years. Because of this, there is a delay in making a proper diagnosis. When an x-ray confirms that it is osteoporosis, it is too late. The disease has progressed to the advanced stage and the bone tissue has sustained damage. According to Medline Plus' online statistics, one out of five American women, over the age of 50, has osteoporosis. Further, the statistics state that women over 50 will suffer from a fracture of the hip, wrist or bones of the spine. Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease.
The two leading causes of osteoporosis are drops in estrogen in women and testosterone in men. Osteoporosis poses a greater risk for women over 50 and men over 70.
Other conditions causing the disease include chronic rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, eating disorders, and taking daily doses of corticosteroids such as prednisone and methylprednisolone for more than three months. Bedridden patients, antiseizure medications, vitamin D deficiency, and hyperparathyroidism are other causes of osteoporosis.
The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons' site stresses that paying attention to bone health in childhood is imperative. When people think of osteoporosis, they think the disease is for the elderly; however, future bone health is determined during adolescence. The more bone mass an adolescent has, the better the skeletal health is in the later years. Early bone health intervention during childhood and young adulthood guard against significant loss of bone mass as a person ages.
It is a fact that everyone experiences some level of bone loss during a lifetime. Early diagnosis and treatment slows the rate of progression and the disease's effects. During the formative years and young adulthood, maintain an adequate diet of calcium and vitamin D. Start early and make an investment in bone health with weight bearing exercises such as dancing, jogging and walking. Regularly engage in these weight bearing exercises three to four times a week. Do not start smoking or quit as soon as possible and avoid excessive alcohol use because these substances increase bone loss.
As the first step in how to prevent osteoporosis, the government's Institute of Medicine recommends for children three to eight get 800 milligrams of calcium per day and children nine to 17 get 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day. Statistics estimate that 25% of boys and 10% of girls meet the government's dietary recommendations for daily calcium intake.
Vitamin D allows the effective absorption of calcium and young children in the U.S. get adequate amounts through drinking fortified milk. Conversely, teens do not get the appropriate amounts of calcium and vitamin D to meet the government's dietary recommendations. Diets and fasts used to lose weight and maintain thinness further deplete these key nutrients, and teens who diet may need calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Bone is living tissue and requires nourishment in order to maintain proper growth throughout a lifetime. It is important to stick to a balanced diet, consume the proper amounts of calcium and vitamin D through diet or supplementation, and include the proper amounts of other nutrients.
Osteoporosis is the result of weakened bones due, in part, to deficiencies of calcium, phosphate and vitamin D; but management of the progression and effects of the disease begins during childhood. See a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis of osteoporosis, proper medical intervention, disease management, and for an appropriate individual treatment plan.
Bio: Tom Demers writes for Assisted Living Today, a leading source of information on senior care, including information on assisted living in MA.