Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones of the body. It is characterized by a bone mineral density that is very low or having a value below the mean peak bone mass. Often, the patient will have a value about 2.5 standard deviations below the mean value.
The condition is often associated with postmenopausal women. However, that is not entirely true. In fact, the condition where postmenopausal women are the ones affected is just one of the 3 types of osteoporosis.
By itself, there is usually no pain in osteoporosis. However, the bones of a patient will be brittle, often breaking quite easily with a fall or any kind of injury. This is the time when there will be pain. By this time, the fractures and injuries are quite difficult to treat.
The following are some of the causes and the risk factors involved in acquiring osteoporosis:
- Family history: If there is a history of osteoporosis in the family, chances are the disease will be transmitted from generation to generation.
- Gender: Although not really a cause for developing the diseases, studies show that women are more susceptible to it than men. This is due to the menopausal episode in women, which greatly alters the hormonal balance of the body, affecting their bone structure.
- History of broken bones: If a person has a history of bone injuries, there is a strong chance that he will develop osteoporosis, particularly around the area where previous injuries were noted.
- Low body weight: Women in particular who weigh less than 130 pounds are more at risk from osteoporosis. On the other hand, those who are obese are also prone to developing bone injuries, which may lead to osteoporosis.
- Poor diet: A diet that is deficient in calcium, vitamin C, and protein will make a person very susceptible to osteoporosis. These nutrients are very essential to bone health, and without sufficient intake of them, the bones are prone to injuries.
- Lack of exercise: Exercises offer an opportunity for the bones to be stronger. Without it, bones are weak and vulnerable.
By itself, osteoporosis has no specific symptoms. The disease is only noticed due to the complications that it brings. As such, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose the presence of the disease in a person, especially when signs of the disease are vague and unspecific.
Nonetheless, there are some signs that may serve as symptoms for a person having osteoporosis. These signs include the following:
- There is a great risk from falling. Because of the age of a person, combined with a weaker bone structure, there is always the risk of falls and injuries to the wrist, spine and hip areas. These areas are especially susceptible when lifting objects, especially those that are heavy.
- A balance disorder. A person with osteoporosis has difficulty finding balance even for just simple activities as walking or climbing up or going down the stairs. The imbalance is due to the unreliability of the bones to support the body with every movement.
- Another symptom of osteoporosis is a poor posture. The poor posture is commonly manifested in a stooping figure wherein the spine arches and the body is leaning forward.
- Frequent fractures. This is a common sign of osteoporosis. Due to the weakness of the bone structure, it becomes very prone to fractures and other injuries, especially in the hip and wrist areas.
How to Prevent Porous Bones?
Despite the scare that osteoporosis brings to people of advanced age, especially to women, the good news is that the disease is preventable. One way to do so is to make sure that the body has sufficient supply of calcium. Calcium can be obtained from fresh milk, dairy products, cheese, and from other food sources. Calcium is the key mineral that strengthens the bones. Without sufficient intake of calcium, the bones become progressively weaker.
However, calcium alone will not provide the greatest benefit. In order for the bones to absorb calcium better, it needs a healthy dose of vitamin D. The best source of this vitamin is fresh sunshine every morning. When the two are present, osteoporosis prevention may yield a positive result.
Other factors that can help prevent osteoporosis are the following:
- Exercise regularly. Exercising strengthens the bone buy conditioning it. Once the bones are properly conditioned, it will no longer be vulnerable to fractures or weakening structure.
- Avoid smoking. This is one of the vices that can cause osteoporosis. Smoking deprives the bones of the needed calcium and the result is a weak structure of the bones.
- Maintain a healthy posture. Unfortunately, few people pay attention to this factor. It is common to see people stooping in their chairs at work. This kind of posture is dangerous because it can make the bones weaker due to bad posture.
- Brussels sprouts. These sprouts are very rich in vitamin K, which is very vital to a strong bone structure.
- Eat plenty of pineapples, spinach, nuts, beans, and whole wheat. These foods are rich in manganese, which is also needed by the bones for strengthening.
- Although meat is a good source of protein, it is not the best source for osteoporosis patients. Instead of meat, switch to a diet of vegetables to obtain sufficient protein.
- Take at least a teaspoon of honey everyday.
- Munch sesame seeds every morning. This is beneficial for osteoporosis patients.
- Make sure that you have sufficient intake of milk and dairy products. Milk are rich in calcium while some dairy products are rich in vitamin D, which makes calcium absorption by the bones faster and easier.
- To build up bone density, drink at least a cup of dandelion tea everyday.
- Eat a lot of soy products. Soy products are rich in isoflavones, which are essential in balancing the estrogen levels in the body.
- Drink almond milk every day. This is done by soaking almonds in water and then peeling the skin and then blending with cow’s milk or soymilk.
For a person suffering from osteoporosis, it is important that he or she should maintain a balanced diet. A balanced diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables. Aside from these, also included in one’s diet are yogurt, fresh bread, potatoes, a small serving of lean meat, low-fat cheese, and fish rich in omega-3 such as sardines, herring, and mackerel.
A sample of a day’s diet for osteoporosis patient should look like the following:
- Breakfast: The breakfast could consist of a cup of oatmeal, a cup of fat-free milk, half a cup of grapes or 5 pieces of dried and chopped apricots, a tablespoon of chopped nuts, and half a cup of orange juice. For the orange juice, one should select those that are fortified with calcium.
- Lunch: For lunch, one may opt to prepare a salad by mixing the following ingredients:
- A half cup of fat-free cottage cheese
- A quarter cup of sliced oranges
- A quarter cup of grapes
- A table spoon of sesame seeds
- 4 pieces of cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 cups of mixed salad leaves
- A few pieces of biscuits
- Dinner: For dinner, a slice of boneless chicken breast mixed with pasta and milk is all that a person needs.