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NS Seniors: Osteoporosis

Posted Apr 20, 2017

Did you know that your bones are being replaced (regenerated) all the time and that your entire skeleton is replaced every decade? Neat, eh?!?

The bone regeneration takes place much faster when we are younger and at age 30, we reach the peak of our bone density. After that, the resorption of the bone happens faster than the bone can reform and we start to lose bone density. When the rate of resorption is abnormally faster, this is Osteoporosis.

It is a disease where our bones become porous, brittle and fragile. It occurs mostly in those over 50 years of age. Risk factors include:

  •  Being a postmenopausal women age 50 or older
  •  Family history of osteoporosis
  •  Having small bones (or thin bones)
  •  Deficiencies in Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Low estrogen/testosterone

Bone fractures are the worst of the complications and they can occur mostly in the spine, wrists, hips and the pelvis. Falls play a big part in this but when it comes to your spine, it doesn’t have to be an immediate incident – sometimes the vertebrae simply crumble once the disease gets too advanced. This, of course can lead to decreased and limited mobility.

When it comes to symptoms, osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease”. Often, you don’t know it is there until something happens, like a fall. That being said, some may experience back pain, they may lose height and may start to stoop or hunch.

If you are in a high risk group, you should speak to your family doctor about a bone density test. They are non-invasive and could perhaps catch a problem for treatment before it becomes too advanced. There is no cure for osteoporosis but there are medications that can help slow its progress.

If diagnosed, understand that you need to become safety conscious when it comes to preventing falls.

You may also need to make lifestyle changes when it comes to diet and exercise. Diets high in calcium (milk, yogurt, cheese, and foods with added calcium) are recommended and while Vitamin D is a little harder to come by in food, fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, trout & tuna can be of help here. Vitamin D supplements can also be added upon recommendation by doctor to help get all you need.

When it comes to exercise, you will want to build muscle – weight training – which can not only help maintain bone density but even help with the formation of bone mass.

If you are over fifty, see your doctor and if you are at high risk, get a bone density test and fall-proof your surroundings.

Here is a site for you to visit on the topic of Osteoporsis