Osteoporosis! Can You Get It!

Osteoporosis! Can You Get It!

Osteoporosis is a gradual breakdown break down of your bones due to the loss of calcium and phosphate salts. Your bones lose density becomes brittle and will break easily. This disorder affects mainly postmenopausal women and to a lesser degree, sedentary(physically inactive) men. Research shows that after your mid- thirties, your bones start losing more substance than they create and bone mass begins to decrease. As women approach age 45 and men reaching the age of 60, they begin absorbing less calcium from their food so it is of great importance to eat a healthy diet to maintain healthy bones. All bones can be affected by osteoporosis, although this condition usually develops in the bones of the hips, the pelvis, wrists and the vetebral column.(spine or backbone)

The exact cause of the loss of bone mass in older adult is unknown, but among the factors associated with osteoporosis in postmenopausal women are hereditary traits, the amount of bone mass at skeletal maturity, exercise, nutrition and harmonal influences, as in the loss of ovarian estrogen production. It appears as people age into their seventies and eighties, osteoporosis becomes a common disease. Studies indicate that a woman with a greater amount of bone mass at skeletal maturity is less likely to be affected than a woman with a smaller skeleton at the same age.

Thin women and women who smoke are more prone to osteoporosis because their bones are less dense before menopause than the bones of heavier nonsmoking women. Elderly men are less prone to this condition because they have denser bones(about 30 percent denser) than women, and their testosterone levels remain until they reach the age of 80 years. Some studies indicate that exercise can actually increase bone mass in older women. Reduced physical activities for both men and women, can contribute to the development of osteoporosis. A loss of bone mass due this disease, produces characteristic changes in the curvature of the spine. These changes can bring about a loss of as much as 6 to 9 inches in height and a hump thoracic vertebrae.

Osteoporosis may not be associated with any clicinal manifestation unless a bone breaks. Pain and deformity usually accompany a break. An individual may develop weakness and collapse of the vertebral bodies and may shrink in height or develop a curvature of the spine or a humpback. Prevention of osteoporosis begins in childwood and the teen years with the beginning of lifelong habits of good nutrition and physical exercise to strengthen the bones. Weight-bearing exercise, even in the very old has been shown to increase bone density, muscle mass and inprove balance and physical endurance according to research. Calcium supplements and vitamin D may reduce the development of osteoporosis in both men and women. Eat a well balanced and healthy diet and avoid cigarette smoking.

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