Osteoporosis is a disease which causes bones to become fragile and weak. If it is not treated properly, this disease can progress painlessly until a bone breaks or fractures. All bones can be affected, but fractures occur mostly in the hip and spine (these are of special concern), and the wrist. A hip fracture can lead to difficulty in walking without assistance and without appropriate treatment results in long term or permanent disability, even death. Hip fractures almost certainly require hospitalization for major surgery, while spinal or vertebral fractures are likely to cause intense back pain, loss of height, and deformity.
Causes of Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis affects both men and women. In women, it is usually caused because of a deficiency of estrogen and also if younger women stop menstruating at an early age. This is more common in thin athletes or girls who suffer from anorexia. They tend to have compromised bone density. Women who also choose to get their hysterectomy done at an early age are victims of osteoporosis.
It is caused in men due to the low level of testosterone. Estrogen and testosterone, both are required by men for bone health. This is due to the fact that men convert testosterone into bone-preserving estrogen.
It is common among both men and women due to the following reasons as well. A long-term use of tablets which are consumed to cure ailments such as for arthritis and asthma can cause this disease. It can be genetically transferred from the immediate family, particularly of hip fracture in mother. Many liver and thyroid related problems can also cause osteoporosis. Cushing’s syndrome, which is a disease that causes high levels of the hormone cortisol, is also a major reason why osteoporosis is common amongst men and women. People who have been immobile for a long time also fall prey to this disease. People who are heavy drinkers or who smoke quite often are also victims of this disease.
Also, if a person had inadequate calcium intake from childhood, this also increases the chances of developing osteoporosis in the later years of life. How to prevent osteoporosis? It is important to understand that calcium alone is not adequate to prevent from fractures and bone loss, as calcium is much better absorb with vitamin D. When vitamin D is metabolized actively, intestinal calcium absorption increases preventing the urinary calcium. Sun exposure of 5-10 minutes on bare skin of arms and legs, 2-3 times weekly is sufficient for the body. Including fruits and vegetables are also very important in osteoporosis diet plan; they help to maintain bone health and increasing the bone mineral density (BMD) which is very important to prevent osteoporosis. Nutrients like, potassium, magnesium and vitamin K are of great importance in the osteoporosis diet plan. Eat at least 5 servings of different colored fruits and vegetables daily. Females should aim for 7 servings and men should aim for 9 servings minimum.