Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease that affects millions of people. As people age, their bones become weaker and lose density resulting in porous bones that can fracture easily, sometimes from a minor fall. Although women are prone to develop osteoporosis with age and if they are postmenopausal, 20 percent of those affected by osteoporosis are men.
Risk FactorsÂ You may have noticed that some people have more chances of developing osteoporosis compared to others. The causes that lead to osteoporosis and fractures are called â€œrisk factors.â€
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis:
- If you’re a woman
- If you are elderly
- If you have a small, frail and thin body structure
- If you have a known history of fractures
- If your level of hormones are lower than normal
- Low estrogen levels in postmenopausal women
- Low testosterone levels in men
- If your diet is low in calcium and vitamin D levels
- If you smoke
- If you use certain medications like steroids, chemotherapeutic medicines used for treating cancer, anti-seizure medicines, etc.
- If you have a known disease condition like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease, endocrine disorders (e.g. diabetes), cancer, etc.
Diagnosis: Â To test for osteoporosis, your physician will order a specialized test called â€˜bone density test.â€™ This test is performed in different body parts and helps to identify and diagnose if you have developed osteoporosis. Your doctor can look at the test results and conclude if your bones have weakened and you are likely to fracture your bones when you fall.
What Men Need to Know About Osteoporosis.Â If you think that men do not get osteoporosis, you are wrong. Men over 50 years are more likely to get osteoporosis and fracture a bone than they are of getting prostate cancer. We earlier discussed some risk factors for osteoporosis and all of these can cause men to get osteoporosis. Getting a bone density test is worth considering. Discuss the issue the next time you visit your doctor. You can make sure your diet has sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Staying physically active is good for your bones. If you are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, you must avoid excessive motions such as with golf or tennis.
Prevention Strategies. Â The best ways to protect your bones and keep them strong must be your priority if you have some of the above risk factors for osteoporosis. While including calcium and vitamin D in your diet is recommended, an overall poor diet is also not beneficial to your bones. Eating poorly and unbalanced meals, smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and leading a sedentary life can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis. Therefore, whatever your age, you can make these lifestyle changes and improve your bone strength.
Treatment for Osteoporosis
When your doctor proceeds to treat you for osteoporosis, your treatment will be determined by several factors including your age, sex, severity of osteoporosis, other health problems, your personal preference, etc.
You must verify the side effects of medicines that are prescribed to you to ensure that it does not interfere with any other medication you are taking already.
There is no cure for osteoporosis but the medications can slow or sometimes stop the progress of osteoporosis. Along with prescribed medicines, getting adequate quantities of calcium and vitamin D in your diet are important.
Some of the common medicines for osteoporosis are Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Reclast, Fortical, and Evista.
In addition to all of the above, a program of weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises help to promote bone health.
If you or an elderly loved one haveÂ osteoporosis there is a higher than normal risk of injuries. Even minor fall related accidents can have devastating effects due to the higherÂ probabilityÂ of broken bones. The home should be modified to reduce falling accidents and a senior alert device should be installed to get help in the event of an accident or suddenÂ incapacitation. Â You can learn more about senior safety at ElderKind.com