Osteoporosis occurs when there is a loss of mineral content from bone mainly in the form of calcium. Osteoporosis mainly affects women, although it also affects men, but in a smaller percentage.
Osteoporosis shows no symptoms and is usually part of the normal aging process. However some women develop the disease early in life due to other co-existing disease factors. Women also run the risk of developing it post Menopause. Since it displays no symptoms it is only when you get a fracture or recurrent fractures, that your doctor will suspect osteoporosis.
Your doctor will evaluate the loss of mineral from your bones throughtests which will determine your Bone Mineral Density (BMD).
The development of strong bones begins early in life. Staying healthy throughout life is an excellent way to keep your bones healthy.
The factors essential for healthy bones are:
Hormones: The production of the Hormone Estrogen isvital in adolescent females and young women so as to maintain bonemass. A shortage of Estrogen occurs in the following conditions,affecting bone mass and could lead to osteoporosis:
Absence of periods
Infrequent menstrual cycles
Delay in the onset of the first period
Lifestyle: Smoking affects bone health and results in a substantial loss of bone mass (bone mineral density) in women. Besides osteoporotic women who continue to smoke while on medication for osteoporosis, fail to achieve the full benefits of treatment. Women who consume excessive alcohol are also at risk for osteoporosis.
Other lifestyle factors that can lead to osteoporosis are:
• insufficient calcium intake,
• very minimal physical activity,
• excessive Caffeine intake,
• excessive alcohol intake and Nutrition
Calcium: Calcium is one of the most essential nutrients necessary for you to reach the highest level of bone strength. To prevent osteoporosis you should eat a well balanced diet with adequate amounts of dairy products, which are the primary source of foods rich in calcium.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D serves many important functions in relation to calcium metabolism. It helps increase your calcium absorption from the gastrointestinal system and kidney and thereby makes it available to your body tissues and blood. It also functions to help with the deposition of calcium to your bones.