Over 44 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis with 80 percent being women. Osteoporosis is defined as bone mineral density below the mean peak bone mass. Calcium is lost and bones become soft and delicate. This condition worsens, making the bone more fragile, alters the posture and makes it vulnerable for fractures. Osteoporosis has a Latin origin that literally means “porous bones”.
Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men because of the hormonal differences. Bone mass decline in women usually begins at the ages after thirty and thirty five. When they reach the age in between fifty five and seventy, normally 30 to 40 percent of bone mass is lost.
Bone loss is asymptomatic. It is quite common for victims to be oblivious of this condition until they realize they have broken their bone, wrist or hip from just a petty accident. Osteoporosis weakens the bones to such a level that even a hug can crack or break the rib. In the latter stages of osteoporosis, the vertebrae can experience compression fractures, causing a loss of height. I noticed this with my own mother and the women in my family. They appear to be getting shorter every year, and revealed a lump on their upper back. Way back then, we only thought that it was because of old age, so we ignored it.
Primarily, there are two types of osteoporosis. Hormonal changes is the cause of one type of osteoporosis, while calcium and Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of the other type of osteoporosis.
Even though osteoporosis has relatively no symptoms until it is advanced, there are some early warning signs. So, be aware of any changes in height, a stooping or rounding of the shoulders, and generalized aches and pains.
Osteoporosis can hit anyone, no matter what the age, sex and race. One in two women and two in four men aged above fifty will experience a fracture in their lifetime. Medication on fractures due to osteoporosis cost a huge amount of roughly $18 billion in 2002 and still on the rise. If you are already above 50 years old and have a history of fracture, you are at risk of experiencing osteoporosis. As a woman, you are in danger if you have a family history of the disease, have a small body structure, have estrogen loss as a result of early or surgical induced menopause, and have calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Men are at risk if the level of testosterone is low, live an inactive lifestyle, and habitually take alcohol and use tobacco products. Seek medical attention if you are suspicious of having osteoporosis to make certain you are taking the correct treatments. Weight bearing work outs, a balance diet enriched with calcium and vitamin D, bone mass examination, drug medication if required, and an active lifestyle are just some of the recommendations your doctor may give you. When osteoporosis is at its progressive stage, compression of the vertebral column usually occur. Thus, your physician may advise you to put on a back/shoulder brace for spine support and normal body weight distribution. Osteoporosis in its initial stages can be prevented with a bone mass assessment.