Osteoporosis” literally means “porous bones. The bones become weaker, increasing the risk of fractures, especially in the hip, spinal vertebrae, and wrist.
Bone tissue is constantly being renewed, and new bone replaces old, damaged bone. In this way, the body maintains bone density and the integrity of its crystals and structure.
Treatment of osteoporosis
slow or prevent the development of osteoporosis
maintain healthy bone mineral density and bone mass
maximize the person’s ability to continue with their daily life
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Bone loss that leads to osteoporosis develops slowly. There are often no symptoms or outward signs, and a person may not know they have it until they experience a fracture after a minor incident, such as a fall, or even a cough or sneeze.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Age: Risk increases after the mid-30s, and especially after menopause.
Reduced sex hormones: Lower estrogen levels appear to make it harder for bone to reproduce.
Ethnicity: White people and Asians are more susceptible than other ethnic groups.
Bone structure: Being tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or slim (weighing under 125 pounds) increases the risk.
Genetic factors: Having a close family member with a diagnosis of hip fracture or osteoporosis makes osteoporosis more likely.
Fracture history: Someone who has previously experienced a fracture during a low-level injury, especially after the age of 50 years, is more likely to receive a diagnosis.
Drugs and health conditions
Some diseases or medications cause changes in hormone levels, and some drugs reduce bone mass.
Diseases that affect hormone levels include hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, and Cushing’s disease.
Research published in 2015 suggests that transgender women who receive hormone treatment (HT) may be at higher risk of osteoporosis. However, using anti-androgens for a year before starting HT may reduce this risk. Transgender men do not appear to have a high risk of osteoporosis. More research is needed to confirm this.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium is essential for bones, and ensuring an adequate calcium intake is important.
Adults aged 19 years and above should consume 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day. Women aged 51 years and over, and all adults from 71 years should have a daily intake of 1,200 mg.
Dietary sources are preferable and include:
dairy produce, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
green leafy vegetables, such as kale and broccoli
fish with soft bones, such as tinned salmon and tuna