Osteoporosis is a type of bone disease that involves bone denigration due to a loss of calcium in the bones. This condition is generally not painful, unless bones are fractured or broken. It is most commonly found in the spine, hips, and wrists, but can also occur in other parts of the body. In addition, osteoporosis is a major cause of spinal fractures or spinal deformities in older women.
Causes of Osteoporosis
- The loss of estrogen due to menopause is the most common cause of osteoporosis. In fact, 25% of women older than 60 years old are found to have osteoporosis.
- Women who go through menopause early or those who have had their ovaries surgically removed before the age of 45 are at risk.
- The aging process is a major factor because, by the age of 50, bones start thinning by 1-3% every year.
Common Risk Factors
- A family history of osteoporosis
- European or Asian lineage
- Lack of vitamin D or calcium
- Regular consumption of alcohol or caffeine
- Sharp decreases in weight due to excessive exercising or dieting
- Overuse of steroids
- Conditions such as hormonal imbalances or thyroid disease
- Chronic diseases such as liver disease or gastrointestinal disorders
Osteoporosis in Men
Osteoporosis can also be found in men, but it is more commonly found in women. The main risks in males come from alcoholism or a lack of testosterone.
Ways to Protect Yourself
- Eat healthy, especially foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D, which are important minerals for building strong bones. These two minerals should be taken from childhood to ensure bone strength, which will reach its peak in a person’s late 20’s or early 30’s.
- Exercise regularly.
- Don’t smoke.
- Avoid drinking beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine.
- Have regular bone health screenings, especially when over the age of 50, in order to prevent bone loss at an early stage.
Treatment of Osteoporosis
Once someone is diagnosed with osteoporosis, a doctor may recommend medication. The type of treatment varies based on what the doctor considers to be the most appropriate for the patient.