Bone is a living tissue that is always being remodeled—small amounts of bone are constantly absorbed into the body and small amounts are constantly being replaced. If more bone calcium is absorbed than replaced, the mass of the bone is reduced, making it weaker and more susceptible to breaks. This condition is referred to as osteoporosis, meaning “porous bone,” and occurs when bone is no longer replaced as quickly as it is absorbed. This month is osteoporosis awareness month, and we’ve lined up some of the facts you need to know about the common disease.
More than 2 million osteoporosis-related fractures occur each year, and most people don’t know that they have osteoporosis until they experience a fracture. While the exact medical cause for osteoporosis is unknown, some of the contributing factors include:
- Physical inactivity
- Reduced levels of estrogen
- Excessive cortisone or thyroid hormone
- Excessive alcohol intake
A gradual loss of bone density occurs in everyone beginning around the age of 35. After growth is complete, women typically lose 30 to 50 percent of their bone density, and men lose 20 to 30 percent.
Osteoporosis will occur in everyone as they age, but its progression rate and effects can be slowed through early diagnosis and treatment. As your bones grow during young adulthood, calcium nutrition, Vitamin D intake and regular weight bearing exercises, such as walking and jogging, build strong bones and invest in future bone health. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption should be avoided, as they increase bone loss.
Family doctors and your orthopaedic surgeon can determine whether your bone density has been reduced, as well as the cause of the reduction. While there are currently treatment methods available to prevent bone loss, there are no proven methods for restoring bone that has already been lost. For this reason, it’s important to invest in your bone health and build strong bones while you are young.
For more information on osteoporosis and how you can prevent it, visit http://bit.ly/2oq50ya.