Understanding and Combatting Osteoporosis

What is osteoporosis? A recent consensus conference defined osteoporosis as a metabolic bone disease characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deteriorations of bone tissue leading to enhanced bone fragility and consequent increase in fracture risk.

Osteoporosis is the most prevalent metabolic bone disease in the US and other developed countries. Vertebral fracture prevalence among women aged 65 has been estimated to be 27% .

If you think you are developing osteoporosis, go see your physician for diagnosis and treatment. One indicator that you can measure is loss of height, stand near a wall, mark your height. If over the years you start losing height, that is a sign of osteoporosis. 

Risk factors for osteoporosis are: 'it runs in your family', bad nutrition, poor lifestyle or endocrine problems. If you think you have osteoporosis, you should see your physician. Although you cannot change your genetic inheritance, there are actions you can take to combat osteoporosis in your life such as:

                   Increasing your calcium intake
                   Decreasing your alcohol intake
                   Decreasing salt intake
                   Decreasing carbonated drink intake 
                   Quit smoking cigarettes
                   Increasing your exercise

All of the above tactics will help you fight osteoporosis. For young people, build up as much bone as you can while your body is making it, that means a lot of exercise and good nutrition during your teen years. Dieting during teenage years can adversely affect your bone formation and can lead to early osteoporosis. 

In addition to the above suggestions, older women are especially helped by replacing lost estrogen and/or exercising. Getting older does not necessarily predict the onset of osteoporosis. 



Primer on the Metabolic Bone Disease and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism, Second Edition Raven Press New York, NY   ISBN 0-7817-0083-3

R. Wasnich, Epidemiology of Osteoporosis, Primer on the Metabolic Bone

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