Osteoporosis is a medical condition that occurs when the bones become brittle and prone to fractures. Seniors, in particular, are affected by this condition, and its causes are related to various factors. Knowing more about its causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment can ensure a better quality of life for people who are or can be affected by osteoporosis. The following facts on this medical condition will help you understand it better.
What is the most affected category?
Osteoporosis tends to affect the elderly more often than people in other age groups, and, according to studies and statistics, women are more likely to develop this condition than men. Each year, only in the US, millions of people suffer fractures that are associated with osteoporosis. However, while the elderly are the group with the highest occurrence of osteoporosis, you must bear in mind that anyone can suffer from it, regardless of age.
Various causes of osteoporosis
When talking about the origins of this medical condition, we need to focus on two essential categories of factors. Some causes are inevitable, while others are related to lifestyle choices and development conditions.
In the first category, you will find age and gender. As mentioned earlier, seniors and women are more likely to have to deal with osteoporosis than other groups. There is nothing you can do to change these factors, but, you must bear in mind that there are osteoporosis treatments available that can help strengthen the bones to avoid fractures.
Another factor that cannot be changed is the body frame. If you are a small thin woman, you are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis in your late years. Also, ethnicity plays a role in this, too. Caucasian and Asian women are at a disadvantage compared to Black and Hispanic ethnic groups.
The risk of developing osteoporosis depends on your family history, as well. If you are genetically predisposed to have osteoporosis, there is nothing you can do about it. For men, low levels of testosterone, and for women, low levels of estrogen (caused by menopause), are factors to be kept in mind, too.
The other category of causes is related to lifestyle choices and development aspects. Eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, cause a deficit of calcium in your body, making your bones frail and prone to fractures. Overall, a diet that is too low in calcium and vitamin D can cause your bone mass to drop.
Using certain medications can influence your calcium intake, too. People who do not exercise at all, and have a low level of physical activity, suffer from weaker bones; also, those who are bedridden for long periods of time tend to lose bone mass, as well. Remember that bad habits such as smoking and drinking can have a severe influence on calcium absorption, and that is why they can cause osteoporosis, as well.
Measures you can take to prevent osteoporosis
As you could see earlier, osteoporosis can be favored by certain factors that you can do something about. That is why, to some degree, at least, osteoporosis can be prevented. One of the most important recommendations is to have a healthy diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D. For healthy bones, a good intake of such nutrients is essential from the first day of life until a person’s late years.
It is not true that you cannot do anything about helping your bones become stronger once you reach a certain age. The elderly need to take more measures to ensure proper comfort and also to prevent medical conditions like osteoporosis. For instance, getting enough sleep is vital for a healthy lifestyle and adequate absorption of calcium. It is a good idea to get a mattress for the elderly to ensure better sleeping patterns.
A good amount of physical exercise can strengthen the bones, too. Even the elderly can use light forms of physical activity to ensure better health for their bones. Avoid smoking and drinking, as you will reap great benefits from such decisions.
Why diagnosing osteoporosis is important
One of the main issues with osteoporosis is that it doesn’t come accompanied by symptoms and people who suffer from it don’t know they have such a condition until they suffer a fracture. A good idea would be to have your risk for osteoporosis evaluated, especially if you know that you have a family history of the condition.
You can also be diagnosed for it, as a doctor can establish the density of your bone mass to see if you are at risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. Especially the elderly are advised to go through such tests and see if some preventive care is recommended.
Also, your doctor can try some treatments and see if your bones gain back their lost strength. It is a safe course of action to ensure that your bones get the treatment they need.
Is osteoporosis treatable?
This is a vital question. While osteoporosis is a chronic condition and cannot truly be cured for good, some treatments can alleviate the symptoms, and reduce the risk of fractures. Your doctor can recommend an exercise plan that takes into consideration your age, gender, and other factors. Also, medications and calcium-fortified foods can help you get the necessary support for your bones.
For senior citizens, there is another factor that they need to bear in mind. They must avoid falls that can lead to severe fractures that are most of the time, favored by osteoporosis. Because the elderly may also suffer from impaired vision, troubles walking, and they might take medication that can cause dizziness, falls are a risk they must bear in mind.
Using non slip slippers for elderly citizens is a good idea because such footwear can prevent a wide array of accidents. Also, a cane for extra support can help reduce the risk of falls. Primarily people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis might ensure that their home does not become a dangerous place. Installing special handles in the shower is one measure they can take. Also, having someone close they can call in the case of an accident helps.