Your bones are constantly breaking down and regenerating themselves, a process which you cannot feel. Osteoporosis occurs when an imbalance develops in this process: either too much bone is lost or too little bone is generated, or both. The result is your bone quality and/or quantity is diminished making your bones weak and brittle, more susceptible to fracture.
Osteoporosis: The Silent Disease
There are steps you can take to improve and maintain your bone quality. Understanding osteoporosis is the crucial first step. This is important to women’s health and men’s health alike. Learn how to take care of your bone health with the following guide:
1) It’s a silent disorder
You won’t feel any pain from osteoporosis until a bone is actually fractured. In the early stages of osteoporosis, there are no symptoms. You likely won’t notice anything until your bones are already brittle and weak. They can become so weak that coughing and sneezing or even bending over could cause a fracture.
2) There are risk factors you can’t change
Some risk factors of osteoporosis can’t be changed. Women are more likely than men to get osteoporosis, but the risk goes up with age for everyone. People who are of Asian descent or who are white also have a greater risk for this disease. If you have a family member with osteoporosis, your odds are greater as well. These risk factors can’t be changed.
3) There are risk factors you can change
There are several lifestyle choices you can make to decrease the likelihood of getting osteoporosis. They include stopping smoking, limiting alcohol consumption to two servings a day, increasing your weight-bearing activity, increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake, and taking a look at medications you’re taking that may contribute. You can also do exercises to improve your balance so you won’t fall as often.
4) It’s more common than you think
One out of every 2 women will break a bone after age 50 because of osteoporosis. For men, it’s 1 out of every 4 who will likely suffer a bone fracture due primarily to osteoporosis at that age. It’s worth paying attention to!
5) It can be treated and prevented
Though it can’t be reversed, the good news is it develops very slowly. This means once you know you have it, you can take measures to decrease its effects. One of the most common and easiest ways is through diet and exercise. Your doctor may also prescribe you bisphosphonates or hormone-related therapy. As with most diseases, the earlier to catch and begin treatment, the better. For this reason, it’s vital to visit your primary physician or endocrinologist to be screened for osteoporosis. See the risk factors you can change above for prevention tips.
Your bone health is vital to your quality of life at every age. Understanding osteoporosis and how to prevent and treat it is the beginning of your best bone health for life. Get started with this guide and talk to your primary care physician to form a plan for taking care of your bones.
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