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|Friday, 25-Apr-2008 10:54
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Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the amount of bone is decreased and the structural integrity of trabecular bone is impaired. Cortical bone becomes more porous and thinner. This makes the bone weaker and more likely to fracture.
Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, or when too much old bone is reabsorbed by the body, or both.
Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Throughout youth, your body uses these minerals to produce bones. If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet, bone production and bone tissues may suffer.
[color=brown]As you age, calcium and phosphate may be reabsorbed back into the body from the bones, which makes the bone tissue weaker. This can result in brittle, fragile bones that are more prone to fractures, even without injury.
Usually, the loss occurs gradually over years. Many times, a person will have a fracture before becoming aware that the disease is present. By the time this occurs, the disease is in its advanced stages and damage is severe.
The leading causes of osteoporosis are a drop in estrogen in women at the time of menopause and a drop in testosterone in men. Women, especially those over the age of 50, get osteoporosis more often than men.[/color]
There are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
Symptoms occurring late in the disease include:
Bone pain or tenderness
Fractures of the wrists or hips (usually the first sign)
Loss of height over time
Low back pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
Neck pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
Regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis. Some of the recommended exercises include:
Weight-bearing exercises -- walking, jogging, playing tennis, dancing
Resistance exercises -- free weights, weight machines, stretch bands
Balancing exercises -- tai chi, yoga
Riding stationary bicycles
Using rowing machines
Any exercise that presents a risk of falling should be avoided!
You should follow a diet that provides the proper amount of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. While this will not completely stop bone loss, it will guarantee that a supply of the materials the body uses to form and maintain bones is available.
High-calcium foods include low-fat milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, tofu, salmon, sardines (with the bones), and leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and collard greens.
Your doctor may recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Ask your doctor what dose is best for you.
STOP UNHEALTHY HABITS
Quit smoking, if you smoke. Also limit alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can damage your bones, as well as put you at risk for falling and breaking a bone