Osteoporosis: Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment
One of the more common medical conditions that plagues women more than men is osteoporosis. This occurs when you lose bone mass and density, often from natural aging. This can create a lot of different issues for you, so it is best that you try to prevent it. Here is more information about osteoporosis and what you can do about it.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Anyone can get osteoporosis, though it is often considered something women get. This is only because the risk is much higher in women. It is something that affects millions of people around the world. There is no single cause of osteoporosis since it is simply a loss of bone density, but there are many contributing factors. If you are a woman, you are already at a higher risk. Some other risk factors include changes to hormone levels, malnutrition and not getting enough vitamins and minerals, being an older adult, and having a thinner frame. You might also be at risk if other people in your family had osteoporosis. Additional risk factors include smoking and drinking, not getting enough exercise, and using certain medications.
How to Know You Have Osteoporosis
Not sure if you are currently suffering from osteoporosis? Only a doctor can tell you that with a bone density scan unfortunately, and there really are no early warning signs and symptoms. Osteoporosis can often lie undetected as it can be pain free and asymptomatic! However, as it progresses, you might start noticing a few changes in your body. This includes a posture that is stooped that you can’t seem to straighten out, getting shorter over time, and having back pain that never really goes away. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor about examining you for osteoporosis.
When you look at the common risk factors for osteoporosis, you should be able to tell what you might be able to do to prevent it. Risk factors are changes to hormone levels, inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake or absorption, excessive alcohol, lack of weight bearing exercise and your family history. So to prevent osteoporosis you need to address all of the contributing elements that can cause it. This might involve a consultation with your GP to ensure your hormone and vitamin D levels are optimal and that your gut is healthy to absorb nutrients. Nutrients that are good for preventing it and strengthening your bones are vitamin D and calcium. These are found in milk and dairy, but also in many fruits and vegetables. Reducing your alcohol intake is important. You should also be getting an adequate amount of exercise on a regular basis and this includes weight training! Heavier resistance weights are recommended at least twice a week, as well as 30 mins of daily activity such as walking.
Your doctor can start treating osteoporosis during the early stages by addressing your hormone levels, diet and in some circumstances medication. You may also need to be careful about falls and watch out for your physical activity if you are diagnosed with this condition. If you have osteoporosis you might like this podcast here
Interested in improving your health with exercises yet not sure where to start? Are you intimidated by gyms and not sure what strength work is suitable for your body?
At Synergy physio we pride ourselves in being experts in the management of women of all ages and stages! Because of this we can help with exercise for bone density. Whether you would like to participate in weekly classes or get a safe and individually prescribed exercise regime to do at home or at the gym, we can help you!! You can also read more about our classes here!