Among the various kinds of bone diseases, Osteoporosis is one of the most common. People who suffer from it have weakened bones that are prone to fractures. Notably, females are more likely to contract it when compared to males. Other things that can lead to osteoporosis are smoking, drinking too much, low body weight, and certain medications.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do if you do get diagnosed with the disease. These include getting professional medical advice, getting prescriptions, or even just changing aspects of your daily life. As always, remember to speak with your doctor first before making any big decisions.
There are a couple of early warnings signs that can indicate the onset of osteoporosis. The most obvious marker is if someone gets shorter. Because the bones of the spine are usually affected first, the disease can cause a change in a person’s height.
Another indicator is low bone density. If a doctor suspects you may have osteoporosis, getting your bone density measured could be the next step. This can be done a number of ways, including dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, ultrasound, or quantitative computed tomography. Other things that medical professionals can test are your blood and urine.
Things You Can Do
There is currently no cure for osteoporosis. Like mentioned before though, there are a lot of things you can do to manage the condition. Following your doctor’s instructions can help slow the deterioration of your bones, or rebuilding bones to prevent fractures.
Fix Your Diet
Introducing good sources of calcium into your diet are a good first step to strengthening your bones. In fact, not having enough calcium can be one of the causes of osteoporosis. This also doesn’t mean just drinking as much milk as you can take.
For people who are lactose intolerant, calcium-fortified orange juice or plant-based milks are a good substitute. Foods like broccoli, salmon, tofu, cauliflower, and leafy green vegetables are some other sources. A good goal to set is to consume around 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. If you are a female over the age of 50 or a male over the age of 70, the recommended daily amount is increased to 1200.
While there are calcium supplements, you should speak with your doctor first before taking any. They can interfere with certain medications, and there have also been studies showing that overloading on calcium doesn’t necessarily help versus a normal intake. This is why many medical professionals suggest that you get your daily calcium needs from foods.
Normally, Vitamin D and Calcium go hand in hand when people talk about good bone health. This is because Vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium once it is ingested. It is recommended that you get 600 international units (IU) a day, or 800 IU if you are over the age of 70.
Like with calcium, you don’t want to get too much Vitamin D. Supplements can help, but adding foods fortified with the vitamin is more ideal. If your body is extremely low, a doctor might prescribe you some.
Of course, diets aren’t just about adding things to what you eat every day. It’s also about restricting other foods. Unlike traditional calorie-counting diets though, there are a few specific things that patients will want to look out for.
The biggest thing to look out for is phosphorous, which might seem counterintuitive. Phosphorous is very important to overall bone health along with calcium, but getting more than your body can absorb is a bad thing. When you have too much in your blood, the body starts to pull calcium from your bones. This is a problem because phosphorous is common among many foods. Watch how much red meat, soft drinks, or other foods with phosphate food additives you consume. Two other things that can mess with calcium absorption are alcohol and caffeine.
Specifically, it is important for people with osteoporosis to have good levels of weight-bearing activity. These are exercises that force you to work against gravity, which is beneficial to your bone strength. Running, hiking, dancing, tennis, dancing, or weightlifting are all examples of activities that are good for bone density.
Non weight-bearing activities are still good for you, but aren’t necessarily beneficial for bone density. Because you do them without supporting your own body weight, they don’t put enough stress on your bones. Cycling, swimming, certain yoga poses, and elliptical machines fall under this category. You can still do them for other reasons.
There have been plenty of studies showing that smoking has a direct relationship with decreased bone density. Some have also shown that smokers are more likely to develop bone fractures. Cutting cigarettes from your lifestyle might be a good decision if you suffer from osteoporosis.
It’s important to remember that you should always speak with your doctor first before attempting to take any sort of medication. The most common are bisphosphonates, which are drugs that slow bone loss. For patients with reduced kidney functions or other conditions that prevent the usage of bisphosphonates, denosumab injections might be used instead.
Medicine has advanced far enough that many people with osteoporosis can still lead fulfilling lives. This is especially true if the disease is caught early and the patient follows their doctor’s instructions. It’s important to remember that many medicines or doctor-recommended activities shouldn’t be stopped just because you feel better. Continued treatment will help prevent fractures and other complications that can arise from osteoporosis.