October 20 is commemorated as the day of osteoporosis worldwide. First launched in 1996 by the United Kingdom’s National Osteoporosis Society and subsequently organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation. World Osteoporant Day Commemoration aims to raise global public awareness about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis causes the bones to become weak and brittle-so that when falling or even mild pressure such as bending or bathing can cause fractures. Fractures or osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.
Bone is a living tissue that is constantly broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the formation of new bone does not match the removal of old bone.
Is it only women who have osteoporosis? Certainly not. Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. However, women who experience menopause are at high risk of developing osteoporosis.
Treatment, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weakened bones.
In the early stages, osteoporosis usually does not show symptoms. But once osteoporosis weakens your bones, it may have signs or symptoms that include:
- Back pain, caused by cracked or torn spine
- Lose height from time to time
- Hunched post
- The bone fractures that occur are much easier than expected
When to see a doctor?
You may need to talk to your doctor about osteoporosis if you have early menopause or take corticosteroids for several months at a time. Or if one of your parents has a hip fracture.
Some bad habits can increase the risk of osteoporosis, including:
- Less move
People who spend a lot of sitting time have a higher risk of osteoporosis than those who are more active. Exercise and weight activities that improve balance and good posture, are beneficial to your bones. But walking, running, jumping, dancing and lifting weights helps to lower the risk of osteoporosis.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases your osteoporosis risk.
There is no clarity of direct linkage between tobacco and osteoporosis. However, it has been shown that tobacco use contributes to weak bones.
Prevent before it’s too late
Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential to maintaining your bone health. This is what is needed to keep your bones:
Protein is one of the building blocks of bone. Proteins can be obtained from fish, meat, soybeans, beans, peas, milk and eggs.
- Maintain weight
Being overweight increases the chances of bone loss and fractures. Being overweight is now known to increase the risk of fractures in your arms and wrists. Thus, keeping the weight fits well to the bone just as health in general.
Men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. This daily amount increased to 1,200 milligrams when women were 50 years old, and men were 70 years old. A good source of calcium includes:
- Low-fat dairy products
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Canned salmon or sardines with bones
- Soy products, such as tofu
- Cereal and calcium-fortified oranges
If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, consider taking a calcium supplement. However, too much calcium has been linked to kidney stones. Although not yet clear, some experts suggest that too much calcium, especially in supplements, may increase the risk of heart disease.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that total calcium intake, from supplements and dietary combinations, should be no more than 2,000 milligrams daily for people over 50 years of age.
Vitamin D increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium and improve bone health by other means. People can get enough vitamin D from the sun. Luckily we live in a tropical country so abundant sunshine.
Scientists do not yet know the optimal dose of each person’s vitamin D. A good starting point for adults is 600 to 800 international units (IU) a day, through food or supplements. For people without other vitamin D sources and especially with limited exposure to sunlight, supplements may be needed. Most multivitamin products contain between 600 and 800 IU of vitamin D. Up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day is safe for most people.
Exercise can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Exercise regularly while you are young and continue to exercise throughout your life.
Combine strength training with weight training and balance. Strength training helps strengthen the muscles and bones in the upper arms and spine, and weight-bearing exercises – such as walking, jogging, running, climbing ladders, skipping ropes, skiing and sports that produce impact – especially affecting the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine. Balance exercises like tai chi can reduce the risk of falling especially as you get older.
Swimming, cycling and exercising on machines such as elliptical trainers can provide good cardiovascular workouts, but do not help improve bone health.