If you're reading this article, you or someone you know may be suffering from osteoporosis. Or perhaps you simply want to conduct deeper research regarding the disease? Irrespective of the reason for digging up this information, below is a comprehensive guide to the condition and how to prevent it.
The bones of a person with osteoporosis are fragile and thin. The term "osteo" is Greek for bone while "porosis" is a Greek term for passage or hole. Combined, the medical field defines it as lowering of bone quantity or skeletal tissue atrophy. A major precipitating factor for development of this condition is age. As a person grows older, bone mass decreases and normal skeletal structure is lost hence resulting in increased susceptibility to injuries.
Around four million people suffer from the condition in the UK alone. It is responsible for exactly 240,000 injuries every year in the country. In America, more than 40 million people suffer from it. Most of the affected population is within 50 to 60 years of age, attesting to the conclusion that age does play a key role in the condition's development. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, ten million people are currently suffering from this skeletal problem while 34 million are diagnosed with poor bone mass, which puts them at alarmingly increased susceptibility for the condition.
The symptoms of osteoporosis are chronic and gradually worsen over time. It can seep into the patient's body without any apparent signs or symptoms for a couple of months. This can even continue for years before it eventually gets noticed. The first signs of the condition may include pain or discomfort in the joints and difficulty in maintaining an upright position when sitting or standing. You will notice a person suffering from osteoporosis because they are usually slouched every time you see them.
As the individual's bone density or mass further degrades, injuries in the lower body including the hip and lower spinal cord become more common. Even a sneeze can injure a rib or lead to partial collapse of the spine.
Risk factors for the condition include the person's gender, age, vertigo, and other health complications. According to studies, women are twice as likely to get the condition than men. Healthcare professionals state there are two main reasons for this – women begin life with normally reduced bone mass and density and the fact that women live longer than men. Also, the menopausal cycle leads to a sharp and spontaneous decline in estrogen production, which accelerates bone loss.
Ethnic background may also increase the risk of developing this bone disease. A person who is caucasian or Asian stands at greater risk of developing it. This is particularly an issue if a family member or close relative had a bone injury. Poor lifestyle habits, particularly smoking, could lead to development of the condition as well.
Prevention of osteoporosis includes increase in calcium and vitamin D intake. Regular exercise is also advised as long as it does not compromise the health of the person. Consumption of products rich in soy may also help decelerate the loss of bone density and mass. If you smoke, consider quitting immediately.