Osteoporosis is a medical condition of the bone that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Osteoporosis bones have lost bone density and mass and, thus, have weakened. The bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue and may result in fractures. If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or health care provider about a bone density test.
Osteoporosis is known as the silent killer because many people do not know they have a problem with their bones until a fracture occurs. About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass. The gold standard to diagnose osteoporosis is with a Bone Density Test or DEX scan.
Breaking a bone is a serious complication of osteoporosis, especially with older patients. Osteoporotic bone breaks are most likely to occur in the hip, spine or wrist, but other bones can break, too. In addition to causing permanent pain, osteoporosis causes some patients to lose height. When osteoporosis affects vertebrae, or the bones of the spine, it often leads to a stooped or hunched posture.
Risk Factors You Cannot Change
- Gender. Women get osteoporosis more often than men.
- Age. The older you are, the greater your risk.
- Body size. Woman with smaller frames are at greater risk.
- Ethnicity. White and Asian women are at highest risk. African American and Latina women have lower risk.
- Family history. Osteoporosis tends to run in families.
- Previous fracture after age 50 increases your risk of low bone density or osteoporosis.
- Hormonal changes. Post-menopausal woman lose bone density at a greater rate than men.
Risk Factors You Can Change
- Nutrition. A poor diet consisting of inadequate protein, calcium and other minerals impacts your bone health.
- Inadequate physical activity or living a sedentary lifestyle damages bone quality.
- Excessive drinking of alcohol decreases absorption of calcium. Smoking also effects calcium absorption.
- Some medications such as steroids, cancer chemotherapy, protein pump inhibitors, SSRIs,Tamoxifen, etc. may strip calcium from bones and affect bone health (this is not a complete list of medications).
- Hormones, low estrogen and testosterone levels can bring on osteoporotic bone changes.
How to Prevent Osteoporosis
There are many steps you can take to help keep your bones healthy. Lifestyle, diet and exercise must be the foundation of any bone-health program. Bone-building medication is also an important piece in rebuilding diseased bones. There are no miracle cures for osteoporosis, but with time and hard work, you can rebuild bone.
Bone building exercises such as dancing, hiking, running, jumping rope, tennis, basketball, weight training are all considered to be bone building.
Balance, flexibility and core strength training will help prevent falls, which is the largest cause of fracture in people with osteoporosis.
Diet and nutrition, including a whole-food based diet, staying away from processed and preserved food is optimal. Supplementation with the osteo all-stars: calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, potassium, vitamin K-2.
Bones are living dynamic tissues that continue to change throughout a lifetime. Some factors lead to a breakdown of bone and cause osteoporosis while other factors can be minimized. Lifestyle, diet and medication help prevent fractures and age-related effects of osteoporosis. QCBN
By Dr. Amy Tarquinio
Dr. Amy Tarquinio is a chiropractor in Prescott, Arizona. She has over 25 years of manual therapy experience and incorporates her knowledge into creating a unique healing session specifically for you. For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact her office, Aligned For Life at 928-443-7717. dramyt.com