In medical term, osteo means bone and porosis means porous. Put both of them together and you get osteoporosis, which is a condition that involves weak and brittle bones. The bones are so brittle that mild stresses such as coughing, bending over and sneezing can cause a fracture.
So how did osteoporosis come about?
Your bones are in a constant remodelling process. Osteoporosis is an imbalance in the bone remodelling process. The old bones are being removed at a faster rate in comparison to the creation of new bone. In other words, too much bones are being broken down and too little bones are being built. Osteopenia, which means a decreased bone mineral density is the warning sign of osteoporosis and it usually occurs before osteoporosis. Most people reach their peak bone mass density around their early 20s. However, as people age, their bone mass is lost faster than it is created.
Who is more susceptible to osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis affects men and woman of all races. However, white and asian woman that are older and have already past menopause are at a higher risk. People that have lesser amount of certain hormones such as sex hormones tend to have weaker bone matrix. A lower level of oestrogen is a one of the strongest risk factor for developing osteoporosis. Lifestyle choices such as a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use may contribute to the development of osteoporosis as well.
What are the symptoms that may indicate osteoporosis?
The early stages of bone loss are usually asymptomatic. However, once a person is diagnosed with osteoporosis, they may experience back pain (caused by fracture or collapsed vertebra), a decrease in height over time, a stooped posture and bones that are more fragile and can fracture easily.
Are there any complications?
Bone fractures in the spine or hip are the most serious complication of osteoporosis. Hip fractures are usually caused by a direct fall, and can result in disability and an increased risk of death within the first year of injury. Spine fractures are not always caused by a direct fall, the spinal bones called the vertebrae may be weaken over time and crumple due to the increased amount of stress.
How can I prevent osteoporosis?
By maintaining a good nutritious diet and regular exercises, your bones will be healthy throughout your life.
- Consuming an appropriate amount of protein is essential in maintaining your bone health as they are one of the building blocks of the bone.
- A healthy body weight is crucial in maintaining bone health as being underweight increases the chances of bone loss and fractures. Whereas being overweight is shown to increase risk of fractures in your arms and wrists.
- Calcium is also very important for bone health and they can be consumed via low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, canned salmon or sardines with bones, and soy products among many others. If getting a sustainable amount of calcium from your diet is challenging, you can consider taking calcium supplements.
- Vitamin D improves our body’s ability to absorb calcium and improves bone health in general. Although the best amount of vitamin D consumption a day is still under research, a good starting point would be around 600 to 800 international units (IU) per day, either through food or supplements.
- Exercise is extremely important to help you build strong bones and decrease the rate of bone loss. It is recommended to start implementing weight bearing exercises when you’re young and continue throughout adulthood. A combination of strength training exercises and weight-bearing exercises are the most ideal.
Last but not least, to diagnose osteoporosis and assess your risk of fracture, your medical doctor will order a bone density scan which is used to measure bone mineral density. It is commonly performed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA scan) or bone densitometry.
Hence, if you would like to seek chiropractic treatment but have a possibility of osteopenia, it is advisable to do a DEXA scan beforehand and bring them during your first consultation. The treatment procedure will then be decided based on the result of the scan. As we are an integrated health centre that consist of chiropractic, physiotherapy and fitness, we will do our best to provide you he best treatment based on your condition. You can contact us via 018 – 982 8539 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org