Osteoporosis is a state in which bone becomes porous and fragile. “Osteo” means bone, while “porosis” means porous.
Broken bones due to osteoporosis are the spine, thigh bone, and wrist.
In order to maintain bone density, the body needs calcium and other minerals in sufficient quantities and the production of several types of hormones in the right amount, including estrogen in women and testosterone in men. Besides, adequate intake of vitamin D is needed to help absorb calcium from food and deliver it to a bone.
What causes osteoporosis?
Our bones actually never shut up. Every time a new bone cell is formed, old bone cells are removed from the body. In childhood, the speed of formation is far greater than the loss of old bone cells. As a result, the bones in children will increase in length and size.
In young adults, the rate of generation and loss of bone cells is almost balanced. However, starting at the age of 30 to 40 years, the speed of bone formation decreases, as a result, the number of bone cells is getting smaller, so it is prone to osteoporosis.
Who is at risk for Osteoporosis?
Here are some conditions that increase the risk of osteoporosis:
• Menopause. The risk of osteoporosis is higher after a woman experiences menopause because, after menopause, the level of estrogen produced by the ovary drops dramatically. As is known, estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining bone strength by helping the work of bone-forming cells. The faster the menopause occurs, the higher the risk of osteoporosis. Generally, women start experiencing menopause at the age of 45 to 55 years.
• Removal of the content followed by the removal of both ovaries. If only one ovary is removed, it does not increase the risk of osteoporosis.
• After the age of 30 to 40 years. Because after this age, bone development is less than the loss of bone cells.
• Smoking. The risk of osteoporosis in smokers is two times greater than nonsmokers. This happens because cigarettes reduce estrogen levels in the blood.
• Having a family with osteoporosis. Women who have a mother of osteoporosis have a higher risk of getting osteoporosis.
• Women with less weight. Thin women get osteoporosis faster than obese women. This is associated with differences in the level of estrogen production, where fat women tend to be more.
• Lack of regular exercise. Regular training helps slow the onset of osteoporosis. Conversely, lack of training causes osteoporosis to arise more easily. Sports such as walking or running, trigger bone cells to be more active so that strong bones are formed.
• Certain medications. Certain drugs can increase the risk of osteoporosis. The drug seems to improve bone loss and reduce the rate of bone formation. These drugs include cortisone (used for asthma, lung disease, arthritis, and allergies). However, this effect only occurs if the drug is used in high doses, or given for 3 months or more. The use of this drug for several days, or several weeks, usually does not increase the risk of osteoporosis. Thyroid treatment also plays a role in the onset of osteoporosis.
• Certain diseases. Some diseases that raise the risk of osteoporosis: rheumatoid arthritis, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, chronic liver disease, and intestinal diseases.
• Low calcium or vitamin D intake. If our food contains less calcium for years, especially during times of growth, the risk for osteoporosis also increases. Lack of calcium makes a lack of bone formation. Vitamin D is required to help digest calcium and deliver it to the bone.
What happens to teenagers?
In adolescence, bones develop rapidly. If enough calcium intake, the bones will experience maximum development and become stronger.
However, foods that are rich in calcium (such as milk and cheese), also contain high calories. So, teenagers who are frightened of fat avoid this food. As a result, they lack calcium, and if it continues, it will cause osteoporosis in the future. The best way to overcome this is to take calcium supplements.
Soft drinks, a drink that is very popular among these teenagers, some of which contain high levels of phosphate. Phosphate attracts calcium from bones. So it’s a good idea for teenagers to reduce their consumption of soft drinks.
Osteoporosis and Broken Bones
Osteoporosis itself does not cause symptoms. Most people do not realize that the bones are more fragile until they have broken bones.
If the bone is brittle, fractures can occur
due to small things, such as falling, after lifting a heavy burden, or even due to walking.
If a fracture occurs in the spine, the vertebrae become shorter. In severe osteoporosis, some vertebrae can experience fractures. It is this event that causes the most height and stooping in the elderly
As a result of this decay, the position of the spinal joint changes. These changes can cause arthritis and pain.
Surgery to repair fractures in osteoporosis is very difficult because the bone is fragile to be fitted with screws and retaining metal rods.
How to prevent osteoporosis?
Knowledge is the primary key. The more you know about prevention and treatment, the greater your chances of staying active. The key to managing osteoporosis is preventing bone cell loss with adequate food, healthy habits, and proper exercise.
Prevention can reduce or stop completely losing bone cells. The faster you take preventive steps, the better the results. So, if you are in the high-risk category of osteoporosis, it’s time to take precautions before you have a fracture.
Osteoporosis prevention steps are to pay attention to your food, enough exercise, and consider using suitable medicines.
One of the most valuable ways to prevent osteoporosis is to consume enough calcium. The following is presented by the dosage of calcium needed by the body according to age groups:
* Children, ages 1-10 years: 800 mg of calcium/day
* Teenagers, aged 11-18 years: 1,200 mg of calcium / day
* Teenagers who are pregnant: 1,600 mg of calcium / day
* Pregnant women, aged 19 years and over: 1,200 mg of calcium/day
* Lactating women: 1,200 mg of calcium / day
* Adult men, under 65 years: 1,000 mg of calcium / day
* Adult men, over 65 years: 1,500 mg of calcium / day
* Adult women, before menopause: 1,200 mg of calcium / day
* Adult women, before after: 1,500 mg calcium / day
One function of vitamin D is to help absorb calcium from the intestine. Some people with osteoporosis have low levels of vitamin D in their bodies so that calcium absorption from the intestine is also lacking. Vitamin D is formed in the body with the help of sun exposure or is obtained directly from food.
The daily dose of vitamin D is 400 IU. This dose can be increased to 800 IU, especially if you don’t get enough vitamin D from food or are less exposed to sunlight. However, remember, don’t consume more than this number, unless your doctor recommends it.
Regular weight training is very good for preventing osteoporosis. Start with light intensity then increase it to 30 to 40 minutes per session several times a week.
Although swimming does not include weight training, it is perfect for strengthening the back muscles. The stronger the back muscles, the stronger and denser the spine. This water sport is also a good choice for people with arthritis or people who experience pain when doing weight training.
Some of the benefits of exercise:
• Maintaining bones. Strong muscles make bones stronger and denser.
• Improve body shape. Trained back muscles help keep the body steady and prevent hunchback
How do you get enough calcium intake?
One of the excellent ways to slow down bone cell loss is with adequate calcium intake. Here are some illustrations of ways to get calcium:
• Try to consume 3-4 servings of foods rich in calcium a day. Milk and cheese are foods that contain lots of lactulose which increases calcium absorption.
• If you go on a diet, still consume low-fat milk.
• Drink milk fortified with vitamin D and tried to get enough sun exposure.
• Avoid foods with high levels of fat and protein, because excessive fat and protein can interfere with calcium absorption in the intestine.
• Caffeine in coffee also plays a role in losing calcium, so don’t drink too much coffee.
How to deal with pain?
If a fracture occurs, mild to severe pain will arise. Pain relievers such as paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help. If the pain persists, you need to see a doctor to get a stronger pain reliever.
For vertebral fractures, along with treatment, hot steam given to your back twice daily for 10-15 minutes is very helpful for healing pain.
Other methods for controlling pain include electrical stimulation of the skin above the affected part. This system is called Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS).