What is Osteoporosis and can you prevent Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and are more likely to break easily. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. It is a slow degeneration of the density of the bones over time that causes this painful disease.
There are ways and preventative measures you can take to prevent or prolong the onset of Osteoporosis, but as they say, there are no guarantees in life, and you could still get osteoporosis despite caring for yourself. Lets us see if we can answer the question of ‘can you prevent osteoporosis’ as best as we can?
Osteoporosis is usually portrayed as a disease for little old ladies, yet it starts many years before old age. Brittle bones and osteoporosis is a silent disease, and you normally only know you have it when you have to go to hospital with a fractured bone for a seemingly trivial fall.
After the age of 35, when peak bone mass is achieved and the skeleton is at its strongest, we start to lose calcium from our bones and their structure gradually becomes weaker and more fragile from then on.
Throughout our lives, we need to watch the way we eat, exercise and generally safeguard our health. Our state of health in our teens and twenties usually sets the scene for bone health in the later years. Preventing brittle bones in later years includes a good high calcium diet, regular weight bearing exercise, minimal alcohol consumption and preferably no nicotine consumption. A daily calcium and vitamin D supplement is a very good idea.
The reason I am writing about how to prevent brittle bones on my ballet dancing blog is that it can affect ballet dancers in their old age.
While genetics does play a part, small boned, low weight and fair-skinned women are known to stand a greater chance of osteoporosis post-menopausally. Many young ballet dancers starve themselves to stay thin and this can deprive their bones of much-needed calcium. Over exercising as in the case of athletes or ballet dancers and amenorrhea (loss of periods) due to over rigorous dieting and exercise can all be contributing factors to your bone health in old age.
Can You Prevent Osteoporosis?
Here is some sensible advice to help with the prevention of osteoporosis.
Eat a sensible diet with regular small meals and avoid hectic dieting.
- Cut down on salt and Caffeine.
- STOP SMOKING!
- Make sure your diet has lots of calcium-rich foods.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol.
- Do at leat 20-30 minutes of weight bearing exercise every week. Walking is also great.
- Get plenty of fresh air and sun shine to encourage vitamin D production, which in turn helps to get calcium into your bones.
- Have a bone density scan at menopause to assess your risks.
- Exercise – Balance exercises help to prevent falls. Hip and back exercises will help to strengthen these areas.
- Aim for at least 1 500mg of calcium and 400 mg of vitamin D each day. Remember that prevention is always better than cure.
- Do postural exercises to reduce rounding shoulders and sloping shoulders.
How Do I Know If I May Be Susceptible To Osteoporosis?
These are signs you need to watch out for:
- Shrinking or loss of height
- Bad posture in upper back
- Bones that break or fracture easily
- Having a low mineral density count
- Leading a sedentary life
- Low body weight
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Back pain suddenly starting
- Brittle finger nails
- Muscle or joint aches in the predominant joints
If you have one or more of the above symptoms, don’t panic, as it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have osteoporosis, but it may be a good idea to go in for a bone density test.
Maybe instead of focusing on can you prevent osteoporosis, rather focus on living your life as clean and healthy as you possibly can.