In a world of never-ending risks of getting a never-ending list of diseases, syndromes and conditions, awareness is key. This post discusses some of the factors, and lifestyle choices that may open you up to an increasingly common bone disease – Osteoporosis.
WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?
A medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. A healthy bone appears like a honeycomb under the microscope. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces become much bigger, i.e., you lose bone density. As bones become less dense, they become weaker and more likely to fracture or break.
A Bone Density Test will tell you, quickly, if you have anything to be worried about.
There are a variety of factors that may make you likely to develop Osteoporosis. Some are in your hands, others are not, but are useful to note so that you know when to look out for signs. It is a disease, the risks of which are surprisingly high. In fact, today, a woman’s risk of breaking a hip due to osteoporosis is the same as her risk of developing breast, ovarian and uterine cancer combined. A man above the age of 50 is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than he is to get prostate cancer.
UNCONTROLLABLE RISK FACTORS:
- Being above the age of 50.
- Being female, especially around or after menopause.
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Broken bones
CONTROLLABLE RISK FACTORS:
- Calcium or Vitamin D deficiency.
- Having an imbalanced diet; too much protein, caffeine and sodium or too little fruits and vegetables.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Smoking and drinking excessively.
- HORMONE LEVELS: Having too much, or too little of certain hormones in the body can cause a proneness to osteoporosis as well. For example, a drop in estrogen levels in women may occur during menopause or as a result of certain cancer treatments. For men, a gradual decrease in testosterone levels with age is normal, and may also occur as a result of treating prostrate cancer. In both cases, a reduction of sex hormone levels in the body can weaken the bones and lead to osteoporosis.Similarly, overactive thyroid, parathyroid or adrenal glands can also cause bone loss.
- Steroids and other medications: Certain drugs and medications have been associated with osteoporosis as a side effect. This is true especially with medications used to combat and prevent:
- Gastric reflux
If you find one or more of these factors in your life, watch yourself closely for weakness in the bones and any aches and pains. Treatment is of many kinds and may require medication, lifestyle changes and therapy. Consult a doctor as soon as you can and take as many precautions as possible to stay healthy and prevent the bone weakness that may lead to Osteoporosis.