The Silent Disease: Osteoporosis

By January 6, 2021March 18th, 2021Arthritis, Chennai Ortho

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that leads to a reduction in bone density and causes brittle bones. The bones become porous, and as a result, regular incidents like coughing or a jerk from a vehicle can cause the bones to break. 

Our bones lose and absorb calcium on a regular basis. Osteoporosis takes place when the loss of calcium is more significant than the absorption of calcium. 

While the inside of a healthy bone only has small spaces, an osteoporotic bone has larger spaces that lead to the loss of strength and density. The outside of an osteoporotic bone will also grow thinner. 

It’s also called the silent disease because it’s impossible for people to detect unless they have fractured bones. 

Osteoporosis is most common among the elderly population as their bones lose the ability to replace the lost calcium. Asian women are most prone to this disease, but we can prevent it with a good lifestyle.

Risk factors

Risk factors for this disease depend on the age, sex, and underlying conditions a patient have. We can eliminate most risk factors with due diligence on our part.

Here are some of the risk factors for Osteoporosis:

Family History: Risks of getting this disease is higher if family members have it.

Age: Ageing increases the risk of this disease

Bone structure: People who naturally have thinner bones are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. 

Race: Asians are at a higher risk of developing this disease. 

Hormones: People with an overactive or underactive thyroid gland are at a higher risk for this disease. 

Weight loss surgeries: These reduce the absorption of nutrients because a part of the stomach is removed. 

Medical Conditions:Underlying medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis increase the likelihood of this disease. 

Steroid medications: Doctors prescribe steroid medication for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis to help with the inflammation. These steroid medications can also increase the risk of osteoporosis. 

Menopause: Women tend to reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. A woman’s body tends to lose more bone because of the hormonal changes associated with menopause. 

Sedentary lifestyle:Taking a brisk walk every day reduces the likelihood of this disease as walking helps strengthen the bones. 

Smoking: Studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis.

Symptoms:
Osteoporosis doesn’t have visible symptoms. Most people don’t realise that they have osteoporosis unless they suffer from a fracture.
But the most notable symptoms of osteoporosis include:
Gums that are pulled back or receding 

  • Tiredness
  • Weak Grip
  • Brittle Nails
  • Loss of height
  • Hunched posture

How to prevent osteoporosis:

Good nutrition and exercise will keep you healthy throughout your lifetime.

Increase your protein Intake

There is conflicting evidence on the relation between protein intake and bone density. But we can’t deny that protein is one of the building blocks of bone. 

Our body needs 0.8 g of protein for every kilogram of our weight. An average adult needs about 50-60 g of protein per day. 

But we tend to ingest less protein as we age. So, it would be wise to ask our doctors or nutritionists for ways to improve our protein intake to prevent osteoporosis. 

Boost the intake of calcium 

An average adult needs about 1- 2.5 grams of calcium every day. Our daily diet can fulfil this requirement with ease. 

The best sources of calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Oranges
  • Badam
  • Spinach 
  • Figs (Atthi/Anjeer)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is beneficial in helping our bones absorb the calcium. Sunlight is the best Vitamin D source, but we can also fulfil our daily requirements through a balanced diet or vitamin supplements. 

Exercise

Physical activity dramatically reduces the risk of Osteoporosis. Exercise keeps the bones healthy and helps slow down bone loss. 

Strength training exercises, weight-bearing exercises, and balance exercises greatly help in the prevention of osteoporosis. 

Weight-bearing exercises like walking and jogging strengthen the legs and the spine. Balance exercises reduce the risk of falls and fractures as we grow older. 

Medications

Depending on the medical history and underlying conditions that a person has, doctors might prescribe appropriate medications to improve bone strength. 

Conclusion

Osteoporosis is also called the silent disease because its presence remains unnoticed unless there’s a fracture. 

The spaces between the bones become larger and cause it to become brittle and lose strength. 

Osteoporosis is more common among women, and the prevalence of osteoporosis increases as we tend to age. 

Women who’ve undergone menopause are more likely to experience osteoporosis because of the hormonal changes. 

Osteoporosis is common and can be managed effectively with lifestyle changes. A good diet and exercise can help significantly with osteoporosis. 

If you’re worried that you’re experiencing any visible symptoms of osteoporosis, book a consultation with Dr S. Arumugam right away! He has helped many people fight issues related to bone health.

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