What is osteoporosis? It is a bone disease and it makes your bones very weak which means that you are at risk of breaking your bones even when doing normal everyday activities.
People that suffer from this disease can easily break bones if they for example just bump into something. It sounds scary but it is true. Cases with advanced stages of osteoporosis can break bones when sneezing.
It is shocking to know that in the US almost 30 million people either have osteoporosis or are at risk for developing it. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to know if you will have osteoporosis, but there are some characteristics that can increase the risk of developing it. Many things you can’t change, but there are things that you can change to prevent developing osteoporosis.
Risk factors that you can control are:
You may already know that a healthy diet will give you a healthy life. So, if you don’t have a healthy diet there is a risk of developing osteoporosis, but you can always change your diet and control that risk.
If you want to have strong and healthy bones, then you need Calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
You can find calcium in dairy products, and it is important for you to get the calcium from food as much as possible. But if you, for example, have problems with dairy products, you are lactose intolerant then you should use supplements that have calcium.
You can find vitamin D in salmon and tuna, and there is also added vitamin D in milk, soymilk or some cereals. And the best way to get vitamin D is from sunlight, but you should be always careful and wear protective SPF cream. As with Calcium, you could always use supplements to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
Vitamin C is another good vitamin that helps your bone stay strong, and you can find it in fruits and vegetables.
You generally need to have a rich and healthy diet if you want to stay healthy, not just because of osteoporosis.
If you want to have a healthy lifestyle, besides a healthy diet you also need to exercise. And exercises can decrease the risk of getting osteoporosis. Bone mass can be built with exercises like hiking, running, dancing, exercises with weight lifting, etc.
Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption
Another risk that you can control. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. When you combine smoking, drinking alcohol and poor diet, you get weak bones. Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are associated with bone loss, low bone density, impaired bone cell activity, etc. But the effects can be reversible, that means that if you stop smoking and drinking the health of your bones can get better.
Some medications are associated with osteoporosis. Long-term oral or injected corticosteroids, like prednisone and cortisone, some antiseizure and cancer medications. Some chronic diseases or conditions can affect your bone health. You must always talk to your doctor if you plan on using any medications or supplements because there are many side effects that you may not know. Problems with your bone mass and strength can be one of the side effects. So please, ask your doctor how you can ease those side effects, and what should you do.
Other risk factors
And of course, there are those factors that you just can’t control:
– Age, as you get older the risk of getting osteoporosis is higher
– Being female
– Ethnicity (Caucasian or Asian people have the greatest risk)
– Body frame (thinner and smaller people have a bigger risk)
– The family history of the condition
The truth is that you can’t change these risk factors, but it makes a lot of difference if you are aware of them. Then you can monitor your bone health. This is a devastating disease and you can’t prevent it completely, but you should be aware of it, and control the risk factors that you can. By controlling them you are making your bones healthier and by that, you are a step further from developing osteoporosis.