Walk Away From Osteoporosis

Doctors say that a diet rich in calcium, and a simple exercise like brisk walking can help prevent Osteoporosis. More than 60 per cent people in our country suffer from osteoporosis and around 90 per cent of them are women. Alarming isn’t it? “The mortality rate associated with the osteoporosis related fractures is greater than the rates associated with breast and cervical cancer combined,” says Dr Ashish Phadnis, orthopedic surgeon. But all is not lost as this can be treated and prevented.

What is it?
Osteoporosis is one of the most widespread degenerative diseases in the world. Decrease in bone density experienced by the patients of this disease often leads to bone fractures that may cause severe disability and even death. The fact that osteoporosis occurs without symptoms is what makes it a little dangerous.

That is the reason it is called the silent disease. Doctors says that people may not know that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes a hip to fracture or a vertebra to collapse. Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterised by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist.

Mainly affects women
Osteoporosis mainly affects women but may also affect men develop when bone resorption occurs too quickly or when replacement occurs too slowly.

Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are a woman. Women have less bone tissue and lose bone faster than men because of the changes that happen with menopause. One in every three post menopausal women are affected by this disease say experts. Orthopedic specialists say that osteoporosis is more likely to develop if you did not reach optimal peak bone mass during your bone-building years. Dr Phadnis explains, “As long as a person lives formation (new bone is added to the skeleton) and resorption (old bone is removed) of bones keep happening. When one is a child and later during one’s teenage years, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. As a result bones become larger, heavier, and denser. Bone formation is outpaced and resorption until peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) is reached around age 30. After that time, bone resorption slowly begins to exceed bone formation.

Especially for women, bone loss is fastest in the first few years after menopause, and it continues into the post-menopausal years.”

Calcium intake and absorption is essential
There are many women who completely avoid taking milk and almost never exercise and this makes then extremely prone to the disease say doctors. Published studies show that low bone mass, rapid bone loss is associated with low calcium intake.

Dr Namdev Eatam corroborates, “Inadequate calcium intake contributes to the development of osteoporosis. Vitamin D also plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health. Exposure to sunlight is important and people who work in closed air-conditioned offices, travel in cars that have tinted glasses don’t get enough of it.” Dr Phadnis adds, “Proper intake of calcium and Vitamin D may decrease the fracture rate by upto 25 per cent.”

Exercise is important
Exercise is also very important to prevent this disease.Dr Etam says, “Regular exercising can help bones.” Just like muscles our bones are living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. “Walking is one of the best exercises possible to prevent osteoporosis,” emphasizes Dr Phadnis. He adds, ” Smoking, alcohol consumption and intake of some medicines and steroids can also lead to a decrease in bone mass.” Proper nutrition, regular exercise and safety issues in order to prevent falls that may result in fractures can help treat osteoporosis. Along with this medication to slow or stop bone loss, increase bone density, and reduce fracture risk may be prescribed by doctors

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